In the coming days, Jews around the world will celebrate the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, a festival that has the theme of justice at its core. At this time of the year, we reflect on the achievements of the past year and rededicate ourselves to our mission of fighting for justice for British Jews.
In just the past few weeks, Abdullah Qureshi has been sentenced for violent antisemitic assaults against religious Jews in North London. This was only possible after we exposed a plea deal that he had agreed with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), as part of which the antisemitic element of the hate crimes was dropped. Only after we and other groups made representatives to the CPS did the court agree to reinstate the charges, and, two years after the attacks, he has finally been sentenced for the full horror of his crimes.
He is not the only illustration of a system that tries to downplay antisemitism. After six years of action by Campaign Against Antisemitism – including a private prosecution, a judicial review and a complaint to his regulator – the pharmacist Nazim Ali has finally been found to have made antisemitic comments at the pro-Hizballah ‘Al Quds Day’ march in London in 2017. An earlier hearing determined that the comments had not been antisemitic, and only after we and others appealed the matter, ultimately to the High Court, was that decision quashed and a new hearing held which made an opposite finding.
We have also been involved in the prosecution of a Tik Tok influencer who was invading the homes of the Jewish families in London, the antisemite Alison Chabloz lost an appeal in her latest case following action by Campaign Against Antisemitism, and, in Scotland, the French far-right fugitive and Holocaust-denier Vincent Reynouard was finally arrested following appeals by Campaign Against Antisemitism, aided by our Honorary Patron Lord Austin. He now faces an extradition hearing, and, if he is extradited, he faces immediate imprisonment in France.
Campaign Against Antisemitism has also been granted intervener status in a High Court case brought by the disgraced former mayor Ken Livingstone against the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) over the EHRC’s investigation into Labour antisemitism, in which we were the complainant.
In the workplace, we continue to help victims in cases that do not make the headlines but make a big difference in the lives of ordinary Jews facing discrimination, for example in the case of a young Jewish employee whose employer we helped to sue for unfair dismissal, and a teacher, who, with our help, reached a settlement following multiple instances of antisemitism at their school.
On campuses, we continue to work with students, staff, administrators and other stakeholders to challenge antisemitism when it arises at universities around the country. For example, at Birkbeck, a professor is no longer working at the institution following action by Campaign Against Antisemitism, and we have also made a detailed submission to the independent inquiry into antisemitism at Goldsmiths.
Meanwhile, a major independent report into antisemitism at the National Union of Students (NUS), to which Campaign Against Antisemitism contributed and which leaned on our research, found that NUS allowed the development of a “hostile environment” for Jewish students, with instances in which Jewish students were “subjected to harassment” likely to be in breach of the Equality Act 2010, in addition to NUS’s own code of conduct. The report rightly recognised that there has been a “poor relationship” between NUS and Jewish students for a long time. During the investigation, NUS took the unprecedented step of removing its President, Shaima Dallali.
Our communications work has also yielded tremendous successes over the past year. Retail giant Adidas ended its partnership with the rapper Kanye West after almost 200,000 people signed Campaign Against Antisemitism’s petition, which was backed by celebrities David Schwimmer, Chelsea Handler and others. We have also sustained international pressure on the musician Roger Waters, secured the cancellation of an antisemitism-denial propaganda film at Glastonbury Festival and many other venues around the country, and made videos exposing individuals and activist groups such as Just Stop Oil.
We also launched the first ever national antisemitism billboard campaign, highlighting the fact that Jews are 500% more likely to be the victims of a hate crime than any other faith group. These billboards were in dozens of locations across multiple cities including London, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow, Birmingham and Edinburgh. The campaign was featured in major locations such as Leicester Square, Heathrow airport, Westfield Shopping Centre and Manchester One. Among the models was a Holocaust survivor who has been left sickened by modern antisemitism, and, it is believed for the first time ever on a British billboard, a member of the Charedi Jewish community, which bears so much of the brunt of violent antisemitic crime.
Our work holding traditional media organisations to account has also borne fruit. For example, Ofcom finally rebuked the BBC over its coverage of the antisemitic Oxford Street incident, which followed action by Campaign Against Antisemitism and many others in the Jewish community. We have also been at the forefront of action against The Guardian, the BBC over other issues, and others.
We continue to be active in policy-making as well. We ensured that the new draft online safety bill would retain a key legal provision to enable the fight against antisemitism on the internet, and we have called on the British Government to proscribe the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organisation, providing a dossier of research to the Home Secretary, Security Minister and all MPs.
We also launched a first-of-its-kind study surveying in real-time the adoption of the International Definition of Antisemitism by local authorities across the UK. It is the only such resource, and complements our existing similar database for universities. We made a submission to a Parliamentary committee calling for tougher punishments against racist local councillors, and we recently revealed that over 40 British universities have yet to adopt the Definition, despite calls from the Government and the Jewish community to do so. We have also urged the United Nations finally to adopt the Definition.
The only way to inoculate against the virus of antisemitism is through education. That is why we continue to offer educational classes in Jewish and non-Jewish schools and synagogues, a curriculum for non-Jewish schools that is also featured on BBC Teach, events for the public, and regular training for corporations, charities, regulators, police forces, university societies and others. Our annual internship programme grows in popularity every year, and our podcast – the only podcast in the world dedicated to antisemitism – is in the top five percent most shared podcasts globally on streaming giant Spotify, and is in the top ten percent most followed podcasts. Guests have included David Baddiel, Eddie Marsan, Robert Rinder, Simon Brodkin, Elon Gold, Modi Rosenfeld, Ben M. Freeman, Eve Barlow, Natan Levy and numerous other celebrities, influencers, rabbis, academics, activists and authors.
This is just a selection of what our volunteers, who work day in and day out, have achieved, with the support of our staff and lawyers, who are paid for by donors who give what they can to make this work possible.
Please help us to keep achieving our goals.
To keep up to date with our work, please subscribe or follow @antisemitism on all major social media platforms.
From everyone at Campaign Against Antisemitism, we wish you a happy and healthy Jewish new year ahead!