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The ‘Blurred Lines’ Of Columbia’s Task Force On Anti-Semitism

On May 16, as Columbia University’s Spring semester ended, the school newspaper published an Op-Ed from the “Task Force on Anti-Semitism” appointed by President Minouche Shafik last November. The Task Force, made up of pro-Israel faculty, announced at its inception its goal of making “ambitious changes” to the University’s “policies, rules, and practices,” and has already released one report supporting increased restrictions on student protests. While it has made a point of refusing to define what it means by “antisemitism,” its latest communication indicates that Columbia faculty and students critical of Israel and Zionism may well be in real danger should the Task Force deliver on its currently-stated goals.

My Heart Makes My Head Swim

The title of this newsletter, ‘My heart makes my head swim’, comes from Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks (1952). In a chapter called ‘The Fact of Blackness’, Fanon writes about the despair that racism produces, the immense anxiety about living in a world that has decided that certain people are simply not human or not sufficiently human. The lives of these people, children of a lesser god, are assigned less worth than the lives of the powerful and the propertied. An international division of humanity tears the world into pieces, throwing masses of people into the fires of anguish and oblivion. What is happening in Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city, is ghastly.

The Shift: Congress Embraces McCarthyism

It’s now generally understood that McCarthyism was a dark and shameful aspect of our history. Oppenheimer made $953 million at the U.S. box office this summer and the bulk of Christopher Nolan’s film isn’t about the bomb, but the Red Scare attacks that destroyed the physicist’s reputation. Political repression might get pilloried in films these days, but you can still hear the faint echo of the Wisconsin Senator’s accusations in any number of policies being pushed throughout the country. One of the most glaring examples is the GOP’s ongoing war on libraries. However, that crusade is mainly waged by just one party. The war on Palestine activism that has emerged since October 7th is a bipartisan affair.

ADL Data On Rise Of Anti-Semitic Incidents Doesn’t Add Up

A new, highly publicized report from the Anti-Defamation League claims that anti-Semitic incidents across the United States have skyrocketed by more than 400%. But these ADL numbers do not add up – unless one equates opposition to the Israeli bombardment of Gaza with hatred of Jews. The Anti-Defamation League’s findings that anti-Semitic incidents in the United States have risen exponentially have made headlines, both in America and worldwide (e.g., Reuters, CBS News, PBS, CNN, Washington Post). American Jews are purportedly facing a wave of hatred and violence like never before, leaving many terrified at the prospect of merely leaving the house.

Chris Hedges Report: The Persecution Of Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn’s ascendance to the leadership of the UK Labour Party in 2015 offered hope for a revival of the British left. With decades of experience and principled opposition to war and privatization under his belt, Corbyn was uniquely positioned to bring the Labour Party back from its neoliberal turn. But this was not to be—just five years later, Corbyn was ousted from the Labour Party and his supporters were purged. The political opposition to Corbyn was accompanied by a media villification campaign that conflated support for Palestinian rights with anti-Semitism. Ultimately, the question of Labour’s support for Israeli Apartheid was successfully wielded to isolate and expel Corbyn and his supporters.

Lowkey: The Ukraine Kill List And Weaponizing Anti-Semitism

In this latest thought-provoking episode of The Watchdog, esteemed academic and public intellectual David Miller returns, this time delving into the covert tactics used by the powerful Israel Lobby to silence advocates for Palestinian rights. Drawing upon firsthand experience, Miller exposes the systematic campaign to force him out of Bristol University and the weaponization of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism to stifle dissent. He reveals how academics who have dared to speak out against the Israeli government’s policies towards Palestine face severe repercussions, including threats of termination and professional blacklisting.

Lies, Secret Recording And Parakeets

London - Hip hop artist, campaigner and host of the MintPress podcast “The Watchdog,” Lowkey is at the center of a storm of controversy that has reached as high as Prime Minister Boris Johnson himself. On Wednesday, the prime minister was asked about it in parliament and said that British universities have “for far too long been tolerant of casual or indeed systematic antisemitism,” adding that he “hope[s] that everybody understands the need for rapid, and indeed irreversible change,” before announcing that the United Kingdom needed a new antisemitism task force “devoted to rooting out” the problem at all levels of the education system – comments that suggest that the entire pro-Palestine student movement is under threat.

Fightback Against Israel Lobby’s Antisemitism Smear Of UK Academics

Glasgow, Scotland - Hundreds of international scholars have begun a fightback against pro-Israel lobbyists who have been scoring increasingly high-profile victories on UK campuses as they seek to curb academic freedoms under the guise of stamping out antisemitism.  Glasgow university officials have found themselves in the eye of a storm this week, accused of “capitulating” in two separate cases that have undermined academic research into the activities of Israel and its supporters. More than 500 scholars from around the world, including a Nobel prize winner, Royal Society fellows, and former and current presidents of major academic bodies, signed a petition delivered to the university this week in protest. 

David Miller Speaks Out About Firing And Israel Lobby Smears

Instead of simply stopping its human rights abuses, the Israeli government has built an extensive and sophisticated public relations network across the West in order to protect itself from criticism. Today, Lowkey speaks to one of the latest victims of that smear campaign, Professor David Miller. A prominent critic of the state of Israel’s policies, Miller was recently sacked from his position as Professor of Sociology at the University of Bristol, after a pressure campaign involving Zionist student groups and even members of parliament, who accused him of “inciting hatred against Jewish students.” Miller, a graduate of the University of Glasgow Media Group, was appointed to his position at Bristol University in 2018. He also held positions at the University of Strathclyde from 2004 until 2011 and the University of Bath from 2011 until 2018.

Why It’s Time To Adopt The Jerusalem Declaration

I know they said there would be no exams this year, but here’s a question just to keep you in practice. Compare and contrast these two definitions of antisemitism. Discuss them in terms of their clarity, efficacy, and what you might deduce from the text about their purpose. Antisemitism is discrimination, prejudice, hostility or violence against Jews as Jews (or Jewish institutions as Jewish). – Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism (JDA), 2021 Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities. – International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism, 2016 Don’t worry if you’re struggling with the second one.

To Distract From Gaza, Israel Lobby Manufactures Antisemitism Freakout

With deceptively edited videos and dubious allegations, the Israel lobby has manufactured an antisemitism epidemic to turn the media’s gaze away from dead children in Gaza.

Massachusetts House Rejects Distorted Definition Of Antisemitism

Cambridge, MA - The Massachusetts House of Representatives on Wednesday rejected an amendment to the state budget which would have Massachusetts adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism, a definition that equates criticism of Israel with antisemitism, within its law on religious discrimination The problem amendment, called “Condemnation of Antisemitism and Adoption of IHRA Definition”, was submitted by Rep. Howitt (R. Seekonk) as amendment #300 to the state budget bill, H.4000. With only two days to respond before the amendment was considered, Jewish Voice for Peace- Boston, Massachusetts Peace Action, the Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine, and the Unitarian-Universalists for Justice in the Middle East mobilized quickly and contacted representatives and Palestinian rights supporters. 

Academics At UK University Reject IHRA Anti-Semitism Definition

Academics at a major British university last week voted to reverse their institution’s adoption of the misleading anti-Semitism definition promoted by Israel and its lobby. A report by University College London’s academic board states that the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s “working definition” of anti-Semitism “is not fit for purpose within a university setting and has no legal basis for enforcement.” The board voted to endorse the report last week. It will now be up to university management to decide whether the vote will be implemented. The university’s branch of the University and College Union is campaigning against the definition. The report was more than a year in the making.

Jewish-Led Groups Condemn Pompeo For Declaring Boycott-Divestment Movement Anti-Semitic

Jewish peace activists led a wave of stinging rebuke of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Thursday after he declared the peaceful Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian human rights "anti-Semitic" while visiting an illegal Israeli settler colony built on stolen West Bank land. Pompeo became the first top U.S. diplomat to visit an Israeli settlement in the unlawfully occupied West Bank of Palestine as he lunched at a winery in Psagot, located on a hill formerly known as Jabel Tawil until Israeli forces conquered it in 1967.

UK Labour Party Teeters On Brink Of Civil War

Jeremy Corbyn, the former left-wing leader of Britain’s Labour party, is once again making headlines over an “antisemitism problem” he supposedly oversaw during his five years at the head of the party. This time, however, the assault on his reputation is being led not by the usual suspects – pro-Israel lobbyists and a billionaire-owned media – but by Keir Starmer, the man who succeeded him.  Since becoming Labour leader in April, Starmer has helped to bolster the evidence-free narrative of a party plagued by antisemitism under Corbyn.
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