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Labour refuses to discipline councillor who shared antisemitic video

Birmingham Councillor Zafar Iqbal Said apologised for sharing an antisemitic video produced by Klu Klux Klan leader, David Duke on his Facebook account;  reports Jonathan Walker in the online Birmingham Mail on 21 September 2016. Said is reported to have denied any acknowledgment of how the video got posted and shared on his Facebook page. Walker states that the video entitled “CNN , Goldman Sachs and the Zio Matrix”,  was accompanied by the posting; ..”this video reveals how the Zionist Matrix of Power controls Media, Politics and Banking” , which may have appeared automatically with the video posting.

The term “Zio” has caused much controversy, after having been branded as antisemitic following its routine use against Jewish students. Its use here in a video espousing a classical example of a “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”-type conspiracy theory, which is blatantly antisemitic in its suggestion of Jewish or “Zionist” control over banking, demonstrates unambigiously that the term is used to defame and humiliate Jews. According to the EUMC definition of antisemitism, it is antisemitic to use conspiracy theories previously targeted towards Jews and instead simply shift the blame onto Israel, or in this case “Zionism”.

Said was reportedly appointed Justice of Peace in Solihull Magistrates Court in 2007 and awarded  an MBE in 2008 for services to education and  the community. He  is quoted as saying there is no place for anti-semitism in Labour or society and that he will continue to work with groups in Birmingham of different faiths against racism and prejudice. The  article cites a West Midlands Labour spokesman who said Labour takes all allegations of antisemitism seriously and will investigate any such evidence and take relevant action.

However, the Jewish Chronicle has reported that no action will be taken by the Labour Party against Said. A spokesmen said:

“Councillor Iqbal has apologised, we accept his explanation of what happened and we have reminded him of his responsibilities as a Labour councillor.”

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Man sends 17 antisemitic letters to BBC in two weeks

A pensioner has been found guilty of having broken his restraining order after he sent multiple antisemitic letters to the BBC.

James Evans, 69, sent the seventeen letters, which referred to “yids”, and “Zionists” and claimed that “Jewish people rule the world”, over a two week period in May.

He also frequently referenced George Soros, a common theme in antisemitic conspiracy theories.

He has apparently sent around 70 letters prior to this spree, leading to a restraining order.

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Anti-Semitic comments found on a book in Warwick

Yesterday a History student found anti-Semitic comments on a book while researching for an essay in the Library of the University of Warwick.

The authors of the comments discriminatorily singled out every person quoted on the book that were Jewish or had a Jewish name.

Actions are being taken by the University of Warwick and the Library.

The Jewish Israeli Society commented “We’re feeling really frustrated because we understand that it’s very hard for the library to find out who did this but at the same we don’t want to let it go”. They said that they had expected things to calm down after the polemic around Aysegul Gurbuz, a Warwick student that was accused of anti-Semitism after tweets being posted on her Twitter account. They added that they felt stuck and that their voice didn’t seem to be heard. 

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UK Jewish students raise concerns over candidate for national student president

This week, hundreds of students from British universities, signed a letter questioning statements made by Malia Bouattia, a candidate for the presidency of the National Union of Students in the UK.

Bouattia has referred to Birmingham University as a “Zionist outpost”  and referred to the fact that it has the “largest [Jewish Society] in the country” when describing the challenges she was facing at the time. These views have offended Jewish students and divided the national student body. For Jewish students, the prospect of the President of the National Union of Students (NUS) holding such views about Jewish students is quite obviously disconcerting. Should a person who uses such rhetoric become the President of NUS, it is likely that this would create a deep rift between NUS and Jewish students.

Just recently, Bouattia explained at an event at SOAS that the government’s Prevent counter-extremism strategy is the product of a so called “Zionist lobby”.

Bouattia’s response to the letter denounced the allegations as “false”. The President of Birmingham’s Jewish Society has answered.

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School inspectors find “antisemitic material” in unregistered schools in England

School inspectors in England have found three unregistered schools, operating in Birmingham, teaching from books which include “antisemitic material”. The inspectors, from Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) found that the schools’s 94 pupils were being taught according to a narrow Islam-focused curriculum.

The discovery comes after Sir Michael Wilshaw, Chief Inspector of Schools In England and head of Ofsted, announced in late 2015 that school inspectors had found 15 unregistered schools in England, of which all had a Christian or Muslim faith designation.

Ofsted is setting up a task force against unregistered schools operating in England.

Sources: The Telegraph, BBC


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Antisemitic “Hitler was right” posters at Birmingham university under investigation by police forensics team

Police in Birmingham are treating as a hate crime the discovery of “a number of antisemitic posters” including one of Adolf Hitler captioned “Hitler was right” at the University of Birmingham.

The posters were discovered by Students’ Guild Education Officer Izzy Lenga who tweeted: “For those who don’t think antisemitism is a serious issue, these were plastered over campus on Tues”.

We immediately contacted the police who have confirmed that they have now removed a number of antisemitic posters found on campus at the University of Birmingham. This is a worrying and disturbing thing to see at a British university at a time when the number of recorded antisemitic incidents is rising, and when Jewish people are actively being targeted and killed in Europe and beyond. We have heard from a Jewish student organisation that they’ve had students express their discomfort and alarm at seeing a poster of Hitler suggesting support for Nazism. The reaction of the police and university must be serious and tough in order to reassure Jews and non-Jews alike that this will not be tolerated. The perpetrators of his hate crime must be found and brought to justice with zero tolerance.

West Midlands Police told Campaign Against Antisemitism that the posters have now been removed and will be forensically examined to try and identify who was responsible. Officers will also be trawling CCTV and speaking to students and staff from the university as part of their investigation.

Sergeant David Cotter from West Midlands Police told Campaign Against Antisemitism: “We take reports of hate crime extremely seriously and are working closely with the university to make it a safe place for everyone who works and studies there. This kind of behaviour is offensive and completely unacceptable and our investigation to identify those responsible is already progressing.”

Deborah Walker, Head of Communications at the University of Birmingham told Campaign Against Antisemitism: “We unreservedly condemn racist graffiti on campus. We have reported the matter to West Midlands Police and are working with them to identify those involved. Our University is a community of 150 nations and we are proud to be situated in a vibrant multi-cultural city. Discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated. We are therefore actively working with a range of groups to bring people together and ensure that our university is a place where diversity is celebrated and everyone plays their part in creating a vibrant and welcoming community.”

If anyone has any information about who is responsible for the posters they should call Sergeant Cotter from Birmingham South Police on 101.

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School at the centre of Trojan Horse affair was rife with antisemitism, says witness

According to witness testimony, there was a history of antisemitism at a school which was at the centre of the Trojan Horse affair, a scandal in which the staff at a number of British schools was infiltrated by Islamic extremists. Speaking to a disciplinary hearing for the teachers involved, a woman identified only as “Witness A” reportedly said that she had “heard both pupils and staff use antisemitic language”.

Speaking by video link, the witness clarified: “For example, pupils would say to staff or other pupils ‘you Jew boy’, which was considered a derogatory term. At that time Lindsey [Clark, the former headteacher] had heard about a member of staff calling a pupil a ‘Jew boy’ and around the same time she had become aware of an increase in antisemitic graffiti in pupils’ books.”

The antisemitism at Rockwood Academy, then called Park View School, was not addressed, according to the witness.

Photo: Google