Jewish Chronicle, January 21 2011
MPs have pledged to crack down on antisemitic preachers on campus and internet hate sites during a major parliamentary debate on antisemitism.
John Mann, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism, said: “Our approach has always been to make it clear that when we deal with antisemitism, we deal with racism. Some people would be prepared- not necessarily happily- to be called antisemites. They would certainly love to be called anti-Zionists, which they would regard as an accolade. When they are described as racists, however, they do not like that term, even though it is accurate.”
He strongly criticised the London School of Economics for allowing Abdel Bari Atwan to speak on campus. “In a democratic society, we cannot have the kind of incidents that we saw in December. It was not only the comments of Atwan that were unacceptable, because the consequential behaviour that resulted from them was equally unacceptable. That is not tolerance, and it is not free speech.”
Harlow MP Robert Halfon said that he believed “there must be a financial penalty for university campuses that do not put their house in order.”
But the idea of fining universities was rejected by the minister at the debate, Lib Dem Andrew Stunell, Under-Secretary of state for Communities, who said: “I do not think I want to get there yet.”
Liverpool Riverside MP Louise Ellman raised concerns that antisemitic internet sites often went unchallenged if they came from Islamist sources, rather than far right sites. Mr Mann said he believed the European Union should take the lead in cracking down on antisemitism online. “Is it beyond the EU to have some common standards relating to the internet that would greatly enhance what has happened in this country? That should be within our reach.”
MPs including Denis MacShane and Lee Scott called for new election rules to stop groups such as the Muslim Public Affairs Committee wh ich targeted pro-Israel and Jewish MPs during the election campaign.
Mr Mann noted that he had been asked by the Football Association 18 months ago to chair a working group into antisemitism in football, but had received no response from the association to his report.
Mr Stunell said he would raise the issue at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. “A problem exists in relation to specific incidents, events and clubs, and it should be paid proper attention.”
This article can be found online here.
A second JC article on campus issues can be found here and follows below.
January 27, 2011
John Mann has called the apparent refusal by the London School of Economics to clamp down on Islamist extremist speakers “unacceptable behaviour.”
During the antisemitism debate, many MPs voiced anger over why hate speakers continue to be tolerated on campus.
Mr Mann highlighted the case of Abdel Bari Atwan who spoke at LSE while audience members shouted “Nazi” at Jewish students. The MP said: “In a democratic society, we cannot have the kind of incidents that we saw in December. It was not only the comments of Atwan that were unacceptable, because the consequential behaviour that resulted from them was equally unacceptable. That is not tolerance, and it is not free speech.”
Mr Mann praised Manchester University’s guidelines for dealing with controversial speakers on campus and urged other universities to adopt similar guidelines. “If we get that this year, it will be a magnificent achievement for Parliament and an accolade for the government, which will have our support in pushing the universities because the issue is important.”
Harlow MP Robert Halfon said: “There must be a financial penalty for university campuses that do not put their house in order. The blame lies squarely with the university authorities for allowing this sort of thing to go on.”
But the idea of fining universities was rejected by the minister at the debate, Lib Dem Andrew Stunell, Under-Secretary of State for Communities, who said: “I do not think I want to get there yet.”
A third JC article can be found here and follows:
The Football Association has been accused of ignoring a report into antisemitism submitted by politicians and football experts 18 months ago.
At the House of Commons debate MP John Mann said he had been asked by the FA to chair a working group into antisemitism and Islamophobia in the sport, but had received no response to its final report.
He said: “I now politely ask the FA, which has a new chief executive, to respond. I hope that it does so productively and positively.”
Mr Mann’s frustration was echoed by Communities Minister Andrew Stunell, who said he would alert the Department for Culture, Media and Sport about the FA’s silence.
MPs Bob Blackman and Nigel Dodds both highlighted antisemitism at Tottenham Hotspur matches. Mr Blackman, a Spurs fan, said: “I have been to football grounds all over the country and combatted attacks by opposition fans who routinely say, ‘Gas the Jews. Kill all the Jews. Hitler was right.’”
Mr Dodds said: “People supporting a rival club were selling openly antisemitic and racist paraphernalia. I wonder why the authorities do not stamp down on that kind of thing.”
A spokesman for the FA responded: “The FA has been working with its Race Equality Advisory Group in relation to the report and can confirm our plans to reconvene the Antisemitism and Islamophobia Group.”