An attempt by leading Jewish Supremacists in Britain to punish an academic teacher’s union for allowing pro-Palestinian activity on campus has been thrown out of court and the litigants castigated as “abusers” of the legal process.
The remarkable—and rare—reversal for the Jewish Supremacists came when a Jewish academic, Ronnie Fraser, claimed the University and College Union’s (UCU) policy on Palestine “constituted harassment.”
The UCU is the largest trade union and professional association for academics, lecturers, trainers, researchers and academic-related staff working in further and higher education throughout the UK.
Fraser claimed in his submission to a senior employment tribunal court that he had “for many years harboured a sense of dissatisfaction” with the UCU’s “handling of the Israel/Palestine debate.
Furthermore, the Jewish Supremacist claims, the UCU had, as a result, taken on an air of “institutional anti-Semitism,” which, he said, constituted harassment of him as a Jew.
In other words, mere pro-Palestinian sentiment was interpreted as “harassment of Jews” by Fraser.
He was supported in his case by Anthony Julius, best known as Diana, Princess of Wales’ divorce lawyer, Howard Jacobson, the Booker Prize winning novelist, John Mann MP, the former MP Denis MacShane and numerous leading Jewish academics.
However, in its judgment, which was published on 25 March, Fraser’s claim was strongly criticised by the tribunal members.
The action was however branded by tribunal panel members as “an impermissible attempt to achieve a political end by litigious means” and a case which showed a “worrying disregard for pluralism, tolerance and freedom of expression”.
Scorn was also invoked for Mr Julius’s decision to pursue certain points, with complaints variously dismissed as “palpably groundless”, “obviously hopeless” and “devoid of any merit”.
The “sorry saga” had also acquired a “gargantuan scale” that required a 20-day hearing and a 23 volumes of evidence which was “manifestly excessive and disproportionate”, the tribunal adds.
“Our analysis to date has despatched almost the entire case as manifestly unmeritorious,” it concluded.
The judgment also says public resources had been “squandered” conducting such a long case, while “nor should the [UCU] have been put to the trouble and expense of defending proceedings of this order”.
The panel was also “troubled by the implications of the claim. Underlying it we sense a worrying disregard for pluralism, tolerance and freedom of expression.”
This is clearly a reference to (among others) Jeremy Newmark, a witness for Fraser, and the head of the Jewish Leadership Council.
He said the university union was “no longer a fit arena for free speech” – a comment which was described in the ruling as “extraordinarily arrogant but also disturbing.”
The judge also found that parts of Newmark’s evidence before the tribunal were “preposterous” and “untrue.” Testimony by Jane Ashworth, of the anti-boycott group Engage, was also found to be false.
Writing on Facebook, leading Engage figure, and witness in the case David Hirsh accused the verdict itself of being anti-Semitic.
The case shows that there are, at least, still a few senior legal figures in Britain who have not caved in before the Jewish Supremacist demand to suppress freedom of speech completely.