Anti-Semitism talks start amid storm

Livni, British Jewish community at odds over anti-Semitism statistics in the UK.

February 10, 2007 23:25
1 minute read.
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The International Conference of the Global Forum on Anti-Semitism, begins in Jerusalem on Sunday amid a disagreement between Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and the British Jewish community over anti-Semitism statistics in the UK. Last week, the Israel-based Global Forum against Anti-Semitism, chaired by the Foreign Ministry, reported that anti-Semitic incidents in the UK had fallen by three percent, from 321 in 2005 to 312 in 2006.

  • Opinion: Be strong and of good courage However in the same week, the Community Security Trust (CST), a registered UK charity that advises and represents the Jewish community on matters of anti-Semitism, terrorism, policing and security, published a report showing that anti-Semitic incidents in 2006 had risen and are at record levels in Britain. This week's Jewish Chronicle reported that CST has "rebuked" Livni for "grossly" underestimating the level of anti-Semitism in the UK. In a letter sent to Livni, CST said the Israeli figures "are wrong" and the reported fall is "also a grossly inaccurate portrayal of the situation in the UK." The letter continued: "We are once again left in a situation whereby serious doubts have been cast upon the ability of the UK Jewish community to develop a serious relationship based on confidence and trust with the Global Forum." The keynote speaker at the Foreign Ministry-organized conference on Sunday is lawyer Anthony Julius. He has made his name primarily as a libel and media law specialist. He made his first appearance as counsel representing American academic, Deborah Lipstadt, against Holocaust denier, David Irving. Julius also successfully represented the Haifa University and Hebrew University of Jerusalem in their fight against the Association of University Teachers trade union's resolution to boycott Israeli universities in 2005. He spoke to The Jerusalem Post before he left London for the two-day conference. "I think there are some anti-Semites who use anti-Zionism/anti-Israelism as a cover for their anti-Semitism. It gives them the right to be anti-Semitic," he said. Julius added that anti-Zionism was anti-Semitism, "when it's driven by malice and based on a willful ignorance of the facts, when it resonates with anti-Semitic history, when it draws on anti-Semitic tropes."

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