Senior British politician steps up attacks on “Jewish cabal”

May 06, 2003

CONTENTS

1. "A conspiracy theory with the most unsavoury historical precedents"
2. "Poisonous, conspiratorial nonsense"
3. "In Britain, slagging off Jews means never having to say you're sorry"
4. Dalyell: There is too much Jewish influence in the United States
5. "Anti-Semitic British teachers"
6. Explosives used in Tel Aviv attack smuggled inside a Koran
7. "No compromise with anti-semitism" (By Mike Marqusee, Guardian, May 5, 2003)
8. Richard Littlejohn: "Imagine if Dalyell had said 'black' or 'Muslim' instead of Jewish"
9. "Judge ideas, not people" (Letters, Guardian, May 6, 2003)
10. "Dalyell steps up attack on Levy"
11. "Dalyell attacks 'Jewish cabal'" (Independent on Sunday, May 4, 2003)
12. "Dalyell may face race hatred inquiry" (Guardian, May 5, 2003)
13. "British University Teachers to debate academic boycott of Israel" (By Douglas Davis, Jerusalem Post, May 4, 2003)
14. "Report: 50 British suicide bombers ready to attack Israelis" (May 4, 2003)
15. "Mofaz: Explosives used in Tel Aviv attack were smuggled inside a Koran" (Yediot Ahronot, May 4, 2003)
16. Mike's Place photo gallery


“A CONSPIRACY THEORY WITH THE MOST UNSAVOURY HISTORICAL PRECEDENTS”

[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach 10 pieces (with summaries first) relating to the remarks to "Vanity Fair" (which were then repeated in an interview with the "Sunday Telegraph") by senior British politician Tam Dalyell, who said that a "Jewish cabal" is driving British foreign policy.

Dalyell, the so-called "father of the British House of Commons," webs together a variety of Americans and Britons and declares not only that they are all "Jewish", but that it is this shared Jewishness that accounts for their supposedly hawkish politics. Dalyell names British foreign secretary (foreign minister) Jack Straw, who is Christian, but had one Jewish grandfather, and is in fact a highly vocal critic of Israel; Peter Mandelson, an advisor to Tony Blair (Mandelson has a Jewish father and a Christian mother); and Lord Levy, the only one of the three who is in fact Jewish but is extremely critical of the government of Israel, and a long-time financial supporter of Yossi Beilin's private anti-government think tank.

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

“POISONOUS, CONSPIRATORIAL NONSENSE”

1. "No compromise with anti-semitism" (Mike Marqusee comment piece, The Guardian, May 5, 2003). Marqusee, an anti-war activist and author of "Redemption Song: Muhammad Ali and the Spirit of the Sixties," writes that "Tam Dalyell's claim that Jewish influence is driving Blair's war policy is poisonous, conspiratorial nonsense... his remarks were redolent with hoary and dangerous mythology... This is a conspiracy theory with the most unsavoury historical precedents not least in the grim saga of European anti-semitism.

"What's disturbing is that a man can lead such a distinguished public career and still succumb to the 'it's in the blood' pseudo-logic that links genealogy to religion to politics to national loyalties without pausing for breath or thought... His remarks impute to Jewishness itself a hawkish pro-Israeli bias.

"The reality, of course, is that political opinion among Jews is diverse. It's said that around a third of the International Solidarity Movement volunteers currently inserting their bodies between Israeli bulldozers and Palestinian homes are Jewish.

"Large numbers of Jews both here and in the US opposed the invasion of Iraq and oppose the ensuing occupation. Among Jews in the US, a sizeable majority vote for the Democrats. So whatever the Perles and Wolfowitzes represent, it isn't Jewish opinion as a whole... The US supports Israel not because of the 'Jewish lobby' but because of the strategic priorities of the US corporate elite."

“IN BRITAIN, SLAGGING OFF JEWS MEANS NEVER HAVING TO SAY YOU’RE SORRY”

2. Richard Littlejohn (who is not Jewish) writing in today's edition of the mass circulation "Sun" newspaper (May 6, 2003) says: "Imagine if Dalyell had said 'black' or 'Muslim' instead of Jewish. The squeals from the race relations industry would be deafening. There would be demands for Dalyell to be drummed out of the Labour Party. The police would be swinging into action with a prosecution for inciting racial hatred. But it seems that the Jewish community doesn't enjoy the same kind of protection. And it's curious that those who feel free to slander the Jews are the first to scream 'racism' in almost any other context... Will the Commission For Racial Equality take action against Dalyell? Don't hold your breath. In Britain, slagging off Jews means never having to say you're sorry."

3. "Judge ideas, not people" (Letters, The Guardian, May 6, 2003). Guardian readers react to Mike Marqusee's article. "Tam Dalyell is no anti-semite and it is daft to accuse him of being so. All the same it must be admitted that on this occasion he has expressed himself in a way that is so wildly inappropriate that it may encourage those who like to judge political ideas in terms of the ethnic origins of those who hold those idea," writes David Pavett. Prof Shalom Lappin of King's College London, writes: "... the relevant difference is between vigorous criticism of the brutal annexationist policies of the Israeli government on one hand and rejection of Israel's right to exist on the other. The former is commendable. The latter is not. It denies the legitimacy of an entire people and so entails a racist view."

DALYELL: THERE IS TOO MUCH JEWISH INFLUENCE IN THE UNITED STATES

4. "Dalyell steps up attack on Levy. Veteran MP rejects accusations that he is anti-semitic and renews criticism of Jewish adviser to No 10" (The Guardian, May 6, 2003). "The Labour MP Tam Dalyell yesterday scornfully brushed aside accusations of anti-semitism but stood by the allegation that has landed him in political trouble, that 'there is far too much Jewish influence in the United States' and one over-influential Jew in Tony Blair's entourage."

5. "Dalyell attacks 'Jewish cabal'" (Independent on Sunday, May 4, 2003). "Tam Dalyell, the Father of the House of Commons, has accused Prime Minister Tony Blair of 'being unduly influenced by a cabal of Jewish advisers'... Mr Dalyell said he himself was not anti-Semitic and would not be branded as such, adding that his children had worked on a kibbutz."

6. "Dalyell may face race hatred inquiry" (The Guardian, May 5, 2003). "Tam Dalyell, the veteran Labour MP and opponent of countless wars, faces an investigation for inciting racial hatred after he accused Tony Blair of being unduly influenced by Jewish ministers and officials. Professor Eric Moonman, president of the Zionist Federation, who was a Labour MP from 1966 to 1979, said he was seeking advice on whether there was a case for referral. 'I believe there is,' he said."

“ANTI-SEMITIC BRITISH TEACHERS”

7. "British University Teachers to debate academic boycott of Israel" (By Douglas Davis, Jerusalem Post, May 4, 2003). "Britain's 46,000-strong Association of University Teachers will debate a motion calling for an academic boycott of Israel at its annual three-day conference this week... The motion is one of 59 that has been selected for debate by the union's six-member agenda committee from several hundred submissions. It has been set down for debate on Friday afternoon, when a number of Jewish academics will be absent because of the onset of the Sabbath... Emanuele Ottolenghi, a lecturer at Oxford University's St Antony's College, condemned the motion as anti-Semitic."

8. "Report: 50 British suicide bombers ready to attack Israelis" (May 4, 2003). The (London) Sunday Times, reported Sunday that a leading British Islamic radical is claiming that there are 50 British Muslim suicide bombers ready to carry out attacks in Israel. The radical, Hassan Butt, said that scores of young British Muslims have told him they were ready to volunteer for 'martyrdom operations (suicide bombers) for the Islamic Holy war. "They are aged 17 to their late thirties and are contacting me about organization," said Butt. In a related story, the Observer, the Sunday sister paper of the Guardian, claims that leaflets published in the British Midlands urging Muslims to become suicide bombers have been found in The West Bank and Gaza Strip.

EXPLOSIVES USED IN TEL AVIV ATTACK SMUGGLED INSIDE A KORAN

9. "Mofaz: Explosives used in Tel Aviv attack were smuggled inside a Koran" (Yediot Ahronot, May 4, 2003). "The explosive material used in the bombing on Mike's Place in Tel Aviv last Tuesday night was smuggled inside a Koran," revealed Israeli Minister of Defense, Shaul Mofaz, at a Cabinet meeting Sunday. Mofaz said that the explosives were hidden inside a Koran and smuggled into Israel from overseas. Three people were killed in the attack outside Mike's Place, a pub right next to the U.S. embassy building.

10. The Mike's Place Web site has a photo gallery "in memory of Dominique (Caroline) Hess," the French-born Israeli waitress who was murdered there last week by a British Moslem suicide bomber -- www.mikesplacebars.com/gallery_new.html


FULL ARTICLES

NO COMPROMISE WITH ANTI-SEMITISM

No compromise with anti-semitism
Tam Dalyell's claim that Jewish influence is driving Blair's war policy is poisonous, conspiratorial nonsense
By Mike Marqusee
The Guardian
May 5, 2003

Tam Dalyell has an honourable record as a parliamentary maverick and forensic critic of military adventures, but his comment on the alleged Jewish influence on US and British war policy should be seen for what it is an anti-semitic outburst.

Although Dalyell does not appear to have used the wretched phrase "Jewish cabal", his remarks were redolent with hoary and dangerous mythology. What's more, they are a disservice to the anti-war movement and the left, which will decisively reject them.

In his interview with Vanity Fair and comments to the Sunday Telegraph, Dalyell ropes together a variety of figures on both sides of the Atlantic and declares not only that they are all "Jewish" (some have never identified themselves as such), but that it is this shared Jewishness that accounts for their hawkish politics. There is a warning implied in his remarks: a religious minority is exercising an undue, malign influence on British and US foreign policies. And that influence is exercised on behalf of a foreign country the state of Israel.

This is a conspiracy theory with the most unsavoury historical precedents not least in the grim saga of European anti-semitism. What's disturbing is that a man can lead such a distinguished public career and still succumb to the "it's in the blood" pseudo-logic that links genealogy to religion to politics to national loyalties without pausing for breath or thought.

Dalyell insists that he is merely "being candid" and predicts that he will be punished for this "candour". But this sounds woefully familiar. It's no more than a polished specimen of the "people are afraid to say it, but we all now what they're like" school of racist apologetics. You can find it in the rightwing tabloids and on the phone-ins any day of the week. There's no bravery in Dalyell's "candour", merely muddle-headed bigotry.

His remarks impute to Jewishness itself a hawkish pro-Israeli bias. The reality, of course, is that political opinion among Jews is diverse. It's said that around a third of the International Solidarity Movement volunteers currently inserting their bodies between Israeli bulldozers and Palestinian homes are Jewish. Large numbers of Jews both here and in the US opposed the invasion of Iraq and oppose the ensuing occupation. Among Jews in the US, a sizeable majority vote for the Democrats. So whatever the Perles and Wolfowitzes represent, it isn't Jewish opinion as a whole.

The US supports Israel not because of the "Jewish lobby" but because of the strategic priorities of the US corporate elite, not least those arising from the desire to control access to oil. Israel is the biggest recipient of US military aid but Egypt is the second biggest, and no one speculates that behind these billions of dollars lies an "Egyptian/Arab/Muslim" hand.

The Muslim population of the US is only slightly smaller than the Jewish one and will probably exceed it in the years to come. But however well-organised and even well-funded it may become, its political clout will not exceed that of the so-called "Jewish lobby", because that lobby is promoting policies consonant with long-term US objectives.

One of the grotesque ironies of the current American political landscape is the unholy alliance between extreme Zionists and neo-Conservatives, many of whom subscribe to a form of Christian fundamentalism that threatens Jews along with other minorities.

The disproportionate numbers of Jews active in both the antiwar and pro-war camps reflects, among other things, Jewish traditions of social activism. In urging the public to see the Jewish influence at work in the war, Dalyell not only smears Jews, but suggests that the sources of war and empire-building are other than they are.

His comments will also play into the hands of those who seek to turn an essentially political conflict into a religious or ethnic one. The defenders of the indefensible who have sought shelter by making accusations of anti-semitism against the anti-war movement, supporters of the Palestinians and the left in general will take comfort.

From my experience as an anti-war activist (and, incidentally, a Jew) who's attended anti-war meetings both in Britain and the US, I know that Dalyell's comments are exactly not the kind of logic or sentiment that has characterised this remarkable movement. In particular, I've found the great majority of Muslim activists highly alert to the question of anti-semitism, keen to engage in dialogue with Jews and well aware that anti-semitism and Islamophobia are drawn from the same template. In contrast, in my brief exposure to the British upper classes I've found anti-semitism commonplace and frequently unblushing. I've heard Jews both admired and resented but in any case distrusted as "a successful race".

I suspect Dalyell's comments may reflect that background, but that does not mean the left or the anti-war movement can merely breathe a sigh of relief. We have to sustain a thoughtful vigilance in drawing a rigorous line between anti-Zionism and anti-semitism. Failure to do so ignores, as Dalyell has, some of history's most salient lessons.

 

“IMAGINE IF HE’D SAID BLACK OR MUSLIM...”

Richard Littlejohn column
The Sun
May 6, 2003

Tam Dalyell, the veteran Labour MP for Belgrano, Seabed, has accused the Prime Minister of being unduly influenced by a cabal of Jewish advisers. Imagine if he'd said "black" or "Muslim" instead of Jewish. The squeals from the race relations industry would be deafening. There would be demands for Dalyell to be drummed out of the Labour Party. The police would be swinging into action with a prosecution for inciting racial hatred. But it seems that the Jewish community doesn't enjoy the same kind of protection.

And it's curious that those who feel free to slander the Jews are the first to scream "racism" in almost any other context. Mad mullahs are allowed to preach death to the Jews and encourage young Muslims to attack Jewish targets. Islamic fanatics recruit young British Muslims to stage homicide attacks in Israel and fight against British troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Yet only recently, after years of inciting hatred against the Jews, has Captain Hook been reined in. And that's largely symbolic. Plenty of other "clerics" still operate openly.

Will the Commission For Racial Equality take action against Dalyell? Don't hold your breath. In Britain, slagging off Jews means never having to say you're sorry

 

JUDGE IDEAS, NOT PEOPLE

Judge ideas, not people
Letters
The Guardian
May 6, 2003

It really was not very clever of Tam Dalyell to talk about the "Jewish influence" on UK/US foreign policy (No compromise with anti-Semitism, May 5). First, it is legitimate to oppose those who oppose the stance of the UK or the US to Israel. It is not legitimate to consider the ethnic origins of those who advocate that stance. Second, drawing attention to the ethnic origins of people who hold opinions one does not agree with cannot but encourage those with a predilection for conspiracy theories. Third, the most powerful section of the pro-Israeli lobby in the US consists not of Jews but of fundamentalist Christians.

Tam Dalyell is no anti-semite and it is daft to accuse him of being so. All the same it must be admitted that on this occasion he has expressed himself in a way that is so wildly inappropriate that it may encourage those who like to judge political ideas in terms of the ethnic origins of those who hold those ideas.

David Pavett
Isleworth, Middx

You are quite right to say that neither Jack Straw (Jewish grandfather) nor Peter Mandelson (Jewish father) can be defined as Jewish by the traditional standard of direct matrilineal descent. However, under the racial purity laws introduced by the Nazis, one Jewish grandparent of either sex sufficed to define a person as a Jew. This is clearly the definition preferred by Tam Dalyell.

Simon Jarrett
Harrow, Middx

Mike Marqusee is correct to condemn the remarks by Tam Dalyell. Marqusee is also right to observe that Jews have been as active on the left as on the right of current political debates. However, he is in denial of the facts in suggesting that this "outburst" is unusual within large swaths of what passes for the left these days. Anti-war political commentators frequently invoke a conspiratorial Jewish/Zionist lobby in America and Britain to account for US and British foreign policy, as well as in responding to negative comment on their own views.

Marqusee stresses the need to distinguish between anti-Zionism and anti-semitism. In fact, the relevant difference is between vigorous criticism of the brutal annexationist policies of the Israeli government on one hand and rejection of Israel's right to exist on the other. The former is commendable. The latter is not. It denies the legitimacy of an entire people and so entails a racist view.

Prof Shalom Lappin
King's College London

 

DALYELL STEPS UP ATTACK ON LEVY

Dalyell steps up attack on Levy
Veteran MP rejects accusations that he is anti-semitic and renews criticism of Jewish adviser to No 10
By Michael White
The Guardian
May 6, 2003

The Labour MP Tam Dalyell yesterday scornfully brushed aside accusations of anti-semitism but stood by the allegation that has landed him in political trouble, that "there is far too much Jewish influence in the United States" and one over-influential Jew in Tony Blair's entourage.

Faced with threats to take "inflammatory remarks" to the commission for racial equality, the MP for Linlithgow raised the stakes significantly by criticising Lord Levy, the music mogul turned Blair fundraiser and tennis partner, whose in timate contacts across the region have made him No 10's envoy to the Middle East.

"I believe his influence has been very important on the prime minister and has led to what I see as this awful war and the sack of Baghdad," said Mr Dalyell, who has long been a critic of Israeli expansionism and insists that many Jews are also "desperately unhappy about it'.'

The father of the Commons, an MP for 41 years and a pillar of the "awkward squad" for most of them, Mr Dalyell qualified his criticisms only to the extent of saying he was not attacking Jewish influence as such, but what he called the "Sharon-Likudnik agenda" of the hardliners led by Ariel Sharon's Likud party who dominate Israeli politics.

After Mr Dalyell was indirectly reported by Vanity Fair magazine as criticising "a cabal of Jewish advisers" driving US-UK policy towards Iraq and now Syria there were protests, and Professor Eric Moonman, a Labour MP 20 years ago, started legal consultations over a complaint to the CRE.

But Mr Dalyell may be the MP least likely to buckle to pressure. Questioned on Radio 4's World at One, he said: "The cabal I referred to was American," and named seven hawk ish advisers to President George Bush six of them Jewish as urging a strike against Syria.

"It's the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs combined with neo-Christian fundamentalists. I think a lot of it is Likudnik, Mr Sharon's agenda, and when it comes to an attack on Syria this is a very serious matter."

Pressed further, the MP conceded he had "picked out one person [in Britain] about whom I am extremely concerned and I have to be blunt about it. That is Lord Levy, Mr Blair's official representative in the Middle East. This has two questions: first, should not this be done by the Foreign Office; second, are special representatives to be accountable or not?"

Downing Street has often been forced to defend Lord Levy, both over aggressive fundraising and as an envoy welcome in Arab capitals, including Damascus, as well as Tel Aviv who cannot be questioned by MPs.

Mr Dalyell's career includes a close alliance with the late Richard Crossman, a passionate Zionist who believed that all gentiles including himself are anti-semitic at some level. The claim won him the friendship of Chaim Weizman, a president of Israel.

Prof Moonman, president of the Zionist Federation, said: "I do not believe Tam is anti-semitic," but said his "old friend" had used language which could support that view.

Whatever the extent of Lord Levy's influence, Mr Dalyell and his detractors yesterday appeared to make no acknowledgement of the defence lodged by Mr Blair's allies.

They constantly point out that No 10 has helped persuade the White House to promote the latest "road map" version of the Middle East peace plan in the teeth of Israeli opposition.

 

DALYELL ATTACKS “JEWISH CABAL”

Dalyell attacks 'Jewish cabal'
By Jo Dillon
The Independent on Sunday
May 4, 2003

Tam Dalyell, the Father of the House of Commons, has accused the Prime Minister of "being unduly influenced by a cabal of Jewish advisers".

His remarksprompted immediate outrage from politicians and members of the Jewish community. The MP expressed concern that Tony Blair continued to back the United States' stance on Syria and Iran, having given his support to war on Iraq.

Mr Dalyell named, in his interview with Vanity Fair, Lord Levy, Mr Blair's personal envoy to the Middle East, Peter Mandelson, whose father was Jewish, and Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, who has Jewish ancestry, as the influential figures behind the Government's Middle East policy.

The MP for Linlithgow defended his comments, telling The Sunday Telegraph: "I am fully aware that one is treading on cut glass on this issue and no one wants to be accused of anti-Semitism but, if it is a question of launching an assault on Syria or Iran ... then one has to be candid."

Mr Dalyell said he himself was not anti-Semitic and would not be branded as such, adding that his children had worked on a kibbutz.

The MP claimed Mr Blair had also been directly influenced by Jewish people in the Bush administration, including Richard Perle, the Pentagon adviser, Deputy Defence Secretary, Paul Wolfowitz and Ari Fleischer, President George Bush's press secretary.

A spokesman for No 10 said the MPs comments were "ludicrous" and Mr Mandelson branded him "incorrigible", while a spokesman for the Foreign Secretary added: "If these reports are accurate, these remarks are too unworthy to be worth a comment."

 

DALYELL MAY FACE RACE HATRED INQUIRY

Dalyell may face race hatred inquiry
By Nicholas Watt
The Guardian
May 5, 2003

Tam Dalyell, the veteran Labour MP and opponent of countless wars, faces an investigation for inciting racial hatred after he accused Tony Blair of being unduly influenced by Jewish ministers and officials.

As leading British Jews criticised Mr Dalyell for his "misguided" remarks, a former Labour MP said he would refer the father of the Commons to the commission for racial equality.

Professor Eric Moonman, president of the Zionist Federation, who was a Labour MP from 1966 to 1979, said he was seeking advice on whether there was a case for referral. "I believe there is," he said.

"I will be distressed to do it because of a relationship with a man I admire enormously," Prof Moonman said. "But he made the statements and he knew what he was doing."

The row started when Mr Dalyell, who for 20 years has opposed every war involving British soldiers, told Vanity Fair magazine that Mr Blair relied too much on Jewish figures in Britain and the US. Mr Dalyell named the former cabinet minister Peter Mandelson, the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, and the prime minister's Middle East envoy, Lord Levy. Only Lord Levy is Jewish. Mr Mandelson's father was Jewish and Mr Straw had a Jewish grandfather.

Mr Dalyell said: "I am worried about my country being led up the garden path on a Likudnik, [Ariel] Sharon agenda", adding that "Straw, Mandelson and co" were leading "a tremendous drive to sort out the Middle East".

Mr Dalyell's critics took exception after it was claimed that he felt Mr Blair was influenced by a "cabal" of Jewish advisers. But Mr Dalyell said he used the word cabal only in reference to the Bush administration, not Downing Street.

"The cabal that I referred to was in the US," he said. "That is the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. I was thinking of [Paul] Wolfowitz, [deputy defence secretary], [Richard] Perle, [John] Bolton, assistant secretary of state, [Douglas] Feith, [Ken] Adelman, [Elliott] Abrams and [Ari] Fleischer, [Mr Bush's press secretary.] Those people drive this policy."

But Jewish figures were furious. David Garfinkel, the editor in chief of the London Jewish News, said: "Coming a few days after the BNP won council seats in the north of England this is the kind of menacing candour which the country certainly does not need."

Ministers were also aghast. One said: "Quite apart from how offensive his remarks are, Tam is wrong. Tony and Jack have faced strong criticism in Israel because of their pressure for the road map to be published."

Mr Dalyell denied he was anti-semitic. "If I were anti-semitic I would not have spent a holiday in Israel, I would not have gone as a young man to stay on a kibbutz. To say I am anti-semitic is preposterous."

He also said he had been parliamentary private secretary to former cabinet minister Dick Crossman, who was something of a hero in Israel. Crossman became close to Chaim Weizman, who was Israel's first president. "Would Dick Crossman have had an anti-semitic gentile as his PPS? I identify with the Weizman tradition. This is not about being anti-Jewish, anti-Semitic or anti-Israeli."

 

BRITISH UNIVERSITY TEACHERS TO DEBATE ACADEMIC BOYCOTT OF ISRAEL

British University Teachers to debate academic boycott of Israel
By Douglas Davis
The Jerusalem Post
May 4, 2003

Britain's 46,000-strong Association of University Teachers will debate a motion calling for an academic boycott of Israel at its annual three-day conference this week.

The motion, proposed by English lecturer Sue Blackwell, of Birmingham University, calls on the union to sever "any academic links they may have with official Israeli institutions."

Delegates will also be urged not to attend conferences in Israel and to support colleagues who have allegedly been the focus of a "witch-hunt" because of their support for an academic boycott.

The motion is one of 59 that has been selected for debate by the union's six-member agenda committee from several hundred submissions. It has been set down for debate on Friday afternoon, when a number of Jewish academics will be absent because of the onset of the Sabbath.

The decision to raise the issue has provoked an angry reaction from some academics, who say it is anti-Semitic and should not be given a public hearing.

The union's national executive has recommended that the call for action be rejected, although it has defended its decision to debate a boycott of Israel.

Secretary-general Sally Hunt said that the union represents "a wide spectrum of views on numerous matters. This subject will be fully debated and I am sure those who feel strongly about the issue will put forward their arguments."

Emanuele Ottolenghi, an Israeli lecturer at Oxford University's St Antony's College, condemned the motion as anti-Semitic and contrary to the ethics of the academic community. He also warned that the idea of a boycott is gaining legitimacy and is "slowly being allowed to become mainstream."

"Anti-Israeli campaigners lament the fact that they are labeled anti-Semitic and make a distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism," said Ottolenghi, who lectures in Israeli studies, noting that "anti-Zionism denies an entire people the right to define themselves as a nation. They attack Israel not for what it does but for what it is."

But Blackwell told the Sunday Telegraph in London that she rejected the charge: "I deny emphatically that I am somehow anti-Semitic by bringing this motion," she said. "I have been a member of the Anti-Nazi League for many years and a campaigner for human rights. I absolutely condemn terrorism of any kind."

She understood her call to isolate Israel "could create bad feeling among colleagues," but she said "the boycott is aimed at institutions not individuals."

Birmingham University said it neither "endorses nor condones these views but supports freedom of speech."

The motion to be put to the conference states: "In view of Israel's repeated breaches of UN resolutions and of the Geneva Conventions, council urges all UK institutions of higher education, all AUT local associations and all AUT members to review immediately, with a view to severing, any academic links they may have with official Israeli institutions, including universities."

Last year, the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology last year held an inquiry into the decision by Egyptian-born Professor Mona Baker to sack two Israeli academics from Tel Aviv and Bar-Ilan universities from the editorial boards of translation journals she owns because they were Israelis.

The inquiry found that Baker had not acted improperly under its rules because the journals she owns were not connected to the university, although they bore the university's logo.

At the time, Prime Minister Tony Blair said he would do "anything necessary" to stop such boycotts.

 

REPORT: 50 BRITISH SUICIDE BOMBERS READY TO ATTACK ISRAELIS

Report: 50 British suicide bombers ready to attack Israelis
May 4, 2003

The Sunday Times, published in Britain, reported today that a leading British Islamic radical is claiming that there are 50 British Muslim suicide bombers ready to carry out attacks in Israel.

The radical, Hassan Butt, said that scores of young British Muslims have told him they were ready to volunteer for 'martyrdom operations (suicide bombers) for the Islamic Holy war, reported Army Radio.

"They are aged 17 to their late thirties and are contacting me about organization," said Butt.

The Times also reported that Israel's Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, has ordered the Mossad to increase its spying activity against radical Muslim organizations in the UK as a response to last week's attack on a Tel Aviv pub, which was carried out by two British Muslims.

The bombers, Asif Mohammed Hanif and Omar Khan Sharif, were the first British citizens to carry out such an attack. Sharif managed to escape the scene of the attack after his explosive failed to detonate, and there is an intense manhunt underway for him.

In a related story, the Observer, also published in the UK, claims that leaflets published in the British Midlands urging Muslims to become suicide bombers have been found in The West Bank and Gaza Strip.

"Israeli authorities have demanded that Britain launch an immediate investigation into al-Sunnah, the organization based at Birmingham's Center for Islamic Studies, which published the leaflets," reports the Observer.

The al-Sunnah group is known as a radical Muslim organization supporting anti-Israeli views.

Al-Sunnah publishes books, leaflets and a monthly magazine that is distributed across the Muslim world including the West Bank and Gaza strip.

According to the report, one leaflet published just before the war in Iraq said: 'When this sudden explosion of American-Zionist violence is aiming to eradicate a nation's existence, eliminating its vitality and sites of resistance, the only way to protect this nation is through acts of martyrdom.'

 

MOFAZ: EXPLOSIVES USED IN TEL AVIV ATTACK WERE SMUGGLED INSIDE A KORAN

Mofaz: Explosives used in Tel Aviv attack were smuggled inside a Koran
May 4, 2003

"The explosive material used in the bombing on Mike's Place in Tel Aviv last Tuesday night was smuggled inside a Koran," revealed Minister of Defense, Shaul Mofaz, at a Cabinet meeting Sunday.

According to Ynet, Mofaz said that the explosives were hidden inside a Koran and smuggled into Israel from overseas.

Three people were killed in the attack outside Mike's Place, a pub right next to the US embassy building.

Mofaz recommended Sunday that the cabinet limit the access of foreign nationals to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as a means of avoiding terror attacks by perpetrators from overseas, media reports said. Mofaz said such a step may be necessary in the wake of the suicide bombing carried out last week by a terrorist with a British passport.

The authorities are still looking for a second accomplice, also a British passport holder, who absconded from the scene early Wednesday, leaving his bomb behind because it was faulty.

Also under investigation is how the authorities permitted the terrorists to reach the Gaza Strip after arriving at Ben-Gurion Aiport outside Tel Aviv, and then to reenter Israel, to stage their attack.

Mofaz's comments also follow the killing of a British photographer in Gaza this weekend, the latest of a series of shootings in that area to which foreigners have fallen victim. The IDF is investigating whether James Miller, 35, was shot by a soldier or by Palestinians on Friday, as died apparently amid an intense exchange of fire between IDF forces and Palestinians in Rafiah

Also at the Cabinet meeting, the Defense Minister expressed doubts that the Palestinians would change their policies. "Arafat plans to do everything he can to thwart Abu Mazen. The double-focused leadership will not lead to a war on terror," said Mofaz.

Mofaz added that Israel would not declare a ceasefire without evidence that the Palestinian Authority was fighting terrorism. Mofaz said that the reforms in the Palestinian Authority would not be complete until all the security forces were brought under one central command, which would not be Arafat.

Relating to Syria, the Defense Minister denied the reports that Syria had started acting against terrorist groups which hold offices there, and said that US pressure on Syria was centered around the issue of Iraq.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.