A civil servant who works in a Whitehall Department attended a talk last year delivered by the Head of Human Resources (HR) of their unit. During the talk, the speaker, who is themself from an ethnic minority, said that when they worked at a different Ministry, they were the only senior leader from an ethnic minority.

In the question and answer segment at the end of the presentation, the civil servant gently raised the point that the Permanent Secretary of that Ministry at the time was Jewish, but the Head of HR brushed away the civil servant’s comment, claiming that they had merely been talking about senior leadership in the HR department, which apparently was clearly not the case.

The civil servant, who has understandably requested anonymity, followed up the incident with an e-mail to the Head of HR who delivered the presentation and also wrote separately to the CEO of the Department. The civil servant, who is Jewish, was then told that they had acted in a “shocking” manner and that the query had “felt like an attack”. The civil servant later spoke again to the Head of HR who told them, in no uncertain terms, that they did not view Jews as an ethnic minority.

The civil servant felt that the incident caused them considerable distress and discomfort at their place of work, without recourse to the very department – human resources – that should be available in such circumstances. Moreover, they felt that their ethnic identity had been marginalised and belittled.

The civil servant occupied a relatively junior position in the civil service at the time and, notwithstanding the professional risks, spent some time trying to resolve this issue with senior management, to no avail. No apology was forthcoming and the senior management refused to acknowledge that any mistake had been made, even as certain leading figures in the unit were recognised across the larger organisation for their work on inclusion and diversity.

The civil servant was in contact with their union before turning to Campaign Against Antisemitism for additional support and guidance.

Having exhausted every avenue for resolving the issue informally, the civil servant proceeded to submit a formal complaint.

Almost a year after the original incident, the civil servant did finally receive an apology from the Chief Executive of the unit, but it only related to the distress that was caused and still did not address the original incident or the substance of the matter.

After a further delay of several months, the civil servant was told by the unit’s new Head of HR that antisemitism would be addressed better in future, including promotion of antisemitism training among senior leadership, and making efforts to ensure that Judaism is recognised as an ethnic minority.

A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism: “Whether it is overt racism towards Jewish people or more subtle aggressions that make Jews feel marginalised or belittled, no industry is immune to antisemitism.

“It is particularly alarming when these incidents arise in the context of HR or diversity and inclusion programming, as these resources are meant to protect all employees, especially those from minority backgrounds. Those tasked with providing these services should be more attuned than anyone to the sensitivities of inclusion and discrimination and to the support that vulnerable employees may require. Clearly those services failed in this case.

“This civil servant courageously pursued the matter to the end, and we are pleased to have provided them with support in doing so. It is regrettable that it took so long for lessons to appear to be learned by those in positions of authority, and time will tell if they have been. We hope that by publicising this incident, others with responsibility for the wellbeing of those in the civil service or any other industry will take heed.”

If you have been the victim of antisemitism and require assistance, please e-mail us in confidence at [email protected] or call +44 (0)330 822 0321.

Image credit: Can Pac Swire

Jews in Norway are planning to send a petition to their Supreme Court in an attempt to get Jewish holidays recognised by the national calendar system.

The current law states that all employees have a guaranteed twelve days of annual leave and most of this time has some connection with a Christian holiday. Non-Christians are, however, allowed an extra two days of paid leave that can be taken whenever they choose.

Jewish groups have noted that this system is unfair to Jews who work in the public sector, who are sometimes forced to work on Jewish holidays, or choose between one festival to miss or another.

These groups argue that this violates part of the Norwegian constitution, which guarantees free religious practice, though this applies primarily to Jews who work in the public sector, since some private companies tend to be better at meeting the needs of their religious employees.

The petition comes at the same time as the Liberal Party of Norway’s youth movement published a position calling for all employees to be given the choice of when they take twelve days off, regardless of those days’ connection to the Christian calendar.

The former leader of the Jewish Community in Oslo, and board trustee, Ervin Kohn, said that the Liberal Party’s proposal may solve the problem, but that “it is important that we as a society have common public holidays”.

The Swedish Medical Association, the Swedish doctors’ and medical students’ union, is suing Karolinska University Hospital for discrimination against a Jewish doctor.

The doctor says that he was the victim of longstanding antisemitic abuse while working at the hospital and that he was removed from his post for being Jewish.

The lawsuit says that the doctor and other Jewish employees at the hospital were subject to antisemitic harassment on Facebook. The comments included references to his nose, and he was told that he “whined like a Jew”.

It is also alleged that the hospital prevented the doctor from conducting his research, reassigned him to other tasks, and awarded him a lower salary than other, less-qualified colleagues, even though he is well-known and very experienced in his field of practice.

The doctor claims that these instances of antisemitic harassment became worse after he initially lodged a complaint and that staff at the hospital started taking revenge on him, which eventually led to his dismissal.

Karolinska University Hospital maintains that the doctor has his employment terminated after he refused to follow the instructions of the hospital management for an extended period.

The Swedish Medical Association, however, argues that the doctor was not dismissed in good faith, and they have filed a motion requesting that his dismissal be invalidated and that he is awarded compensation.

Campaign Against Antisemitism reports on antisemitic incidents in Europe, including Sweden. A recent study has reported that, in 2020, Jewish people in Sweden were the victims of 27 percent of religious hate crimes even though they make up only 0.1 percent of the population.

A manager at the Stonegate pub chain is no longer employed by the group, after Campaign Against Antisemitism assisted a colleague of his who had made allegations of antisemitic abuse.

The Jewish victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, appealed to us after her line manager at the pub where she worked allegedly engaged in antisemitic abuse and, on at least one occasion, made unwanted physical contact by trying to place his legs on her lap and tried to spit beer over her.

The alleged antisemitic remarks included stating that Hitler was not a fascist and pointing at the victim and saying “a Jew!”.

The pub group, which is one of the largest in the UK, initially declined to take action.

There were numerous allegations of abuse, both before and after the colleague became the victim’s line manager. The incidents were made even more challenging for the victim, as this was her first job. Ultimately the victim decided to leave her position, but bravely insisted on working with us to continue to seek justice.

Citing reasons of confidentiality, the pub group initially refused to tell the victim anything and merely said that the matter would be addressed.

Following contact from Campaign Against Antisemitism’s General Counsel, the pub group suddenly had a change of mind. It has now been confirmed that the manager in question is no longer employed by them. The victim is satisfied that justice has been done and has expressed her gratitude to us for the legal and other support that we have been able to provide.

Stephen Silverman, Director of Investigations and Enforcement at Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “This is one of many examples where we have helped ordinary members of the Jewish community in challenging employment situations. It is important that members of the community contact us at the first signs of a problem so that we can immediately provide legal and other support to secure a just outcome, as we have here.”

If you would like assistance and free legal support in an employment setting or elsewhere in relation to an antisemitic incident, please contact our Incident Response team at [email protected] or on +44 (0)330 822 0321.

A Manchester-based Jewish lawyer who won £26,500 in compensation on the grounds of religious discrimination has still not been paid, reportedly leading to a severe decline in his mental health.

According to court documents, NNE Law Limited, run by Ali Nazokkar, dismissed litigation executive Philip Bialick after he took a pre-arranged break for the Passover festival in April 2020.

Mr Bialick began his employment at the firm in January 2020, booking annual leave a month later in anticipation of the festival in April. In March, the UK entered its first pandemic lockdown, but the firm claimed that, “since the courts are not closed…our line of work is considered essential,” and therefore that he should attend work. Two days later, Mr Bialick fell ill and self-isolated, in accordance with NHS guidance.

His isolation period ended on 8th April, when he expected to go on leave to observe the festival. But NNE reportedly said that he should return to work on 9th April, the second day of Pesach.

Mr Bialick explained that he had booked time off for religious reasons and could not come to work but, the next day, the firm asserted that it had no alternative but to terminate his contract.

Though it is reported that Mr Bialick and Mr Nazzokar were friends of long-standing, their relationship is said to have deteriorated due to these events.

However, it is understood that Mr Bialick has still not received the financial compensation owed to him. Mr Bialick is reported to have said that his mental health has declined and that he has faced serious financial difficulties since his dismissal, though he has since been hired by a rival firm. This has been compounded by the fact that he has not yet received any of the money that he is owed.

A spokesperson for NNE Law said: “I would like to advise that the reason the judgement has not yet been satisfied is due to an application having been made for a stay of execution of the order as there are grounds for appeal which are currently being pursued.”

Speaking frankly about the state of his mental health, Mr Bialick said: “It was really bad. I had no money at all. I went pretty much off the rails. My mental health deteriorated massively. I didn’t know where to turn.

“I was really upset and angry about how they treated me. I was desperate at the time as there was no work so I applied for an employment tribunal straight away. Since then I’ve been chasing them and instructed bailiffs.”

“I have lost a lot of money. I’m getting to the point now where I’m desperate. I’m waiting for this money to come through and if it doesn’t I’m in trouble,” he said.

Image credit: Google

A Manchester-based Jewish lawyer who was fired after not going to work on Pesach is due to receive around £26,500 in compensation.

According to court documents, NNE Law Limited dismissed Philip Bialick after he took a pre-arranged break for the Passover festival in April 2020.

Mr Bialick began his employment at the firm in January 2020, booking annual leave a month later in anticipation of the festival in April. In March, the UK entered its first pandemic lockdown, but the firm claimed that, “since the courts are not closed…our line of work is considered essential,” and therefore that he should attend work. Two days later, Mr Bialick fell ill and self-isolated, in accordance with NHS guidance.

His isolation period ended on 8th April, when he expected to go on leave to observe the festival. But NNE reportedly said that he should return to work on 9th April, the second day of Pesach.

Mr Bialick explained that he had booked time off for religious reasons and could not come to work but, the next day, the firm asserted that it had no alternative but to terminate his contract.

Speaking at the employment tribunal, Judge Leach said: “We accept that the dismissal had a devastating impact on him and that he was affected mentally and emotionally.” 

He added: “As for taking into account that this was a one-off act, the effect of the discriminatory treatment was to dismiss the claimant without notice or pay in lieu of notice. Whilst it was a one-off act, it was a serious one, effectively the most serious sanction an employer could impose on an employee for refusing to attend work on Passover High Holiday.”

Image credit: Google

The singer-songwriter Alex Clare, who was raised in a secular Jewish home but turned to orthodox Judaism in his early twenties, was told ten years ago that he had to choose between his career or his religion by his record label, he said in a recent interview. 

The musician said that while Island Records were “very tolerant” of his decision to pull out of an April tour with Adele due to some of the gigs coinciding with the Sabbath and the Jewish festival of Passover, the label appeared to grow annoyed when he declined to record a BBC radio concert in October in order to observe the Jewish festival of Sukkot. A difficult conversation with label bosses then led to Mr Clare being dropped after just one album.

Mr Clare commented: “They said, ‘It seems like you’re more into your religion than you are into your career,’ and that really wasn’t the case. I really was focused on my career, but personal lifestyle choices, whatever they are, haven’t always necessarily been so tolerated. I’m not unique – historically this has been a running theme, not just for Jewish people but anyone who makes commitments elsewhere.”

He continued: “When I signed, they knew that that was happening but they didn’t quite understand how serious the rules of keeping the Sabbath are. And for some reason every piece of promo that came in was seeming to fall on a Friday night or Saturday morning, and I was turning down opportunity after opportunity.”

“They thought I was nuts,” Mr Clare said of the label when he turned down at least five gigs of the tour with Adele. 

A spokesperson for Island Records said that they had “reached out to apologise directly to Alex.” They added: “What was said to him ten years ago was wrong and does not in any way represent our views or policies.”

Mr Clare noted that when he was re-signed by the label, they were “very apologetic.” 

“We have a saying in Hebrew called Gam Zu L’Tovah, which means ‘This too is good’,” he said. “We say that when something goes really badly wrong. It’s like the most crazy statement to have enough faith and say, ‘This right now is a really bad situation but ultimately God is good and life is good and this is for a greater good’ – whatever that might be. And in my case it really worked out that way. I got dropped by the label but months later I had a top ten hit all over the world, selling [double] platinum, and obviously got a much bigger record deal second time!” 

A newly published independent race report has stated that Harrow Council ignored several claims of antisemitism that were flagged up by members of staff.  

In addition to antisemitism, several cases of sexism and racism were allegedly witnessed by some members of council staff, though no action had been taken. 

One participant in the report said: “A colleague reported several instances of antisemitism and racism and nothing has been done about it for years. It is no good at all to talk about combating racism, then do nothing about it when reported. We are so fed up of this and this is the reason why nothing will change.”

Other staff members reportedly said that they did not feel comfortable reporting incidents of “casual racism” for fear of losing their jobs.

The report recommended that the council issue a “formal apology”. Harrow Council has reportedly been contacted for comment. 

Harrow Council adopted the International Definition of Antisemitism in 2017.

Image credit: Google

A lawyer has reportedly been struck off the roll after allegedly making racist and sexist comments.

Complaints were reportedly brought by three women against Victor Stockinger, 61, of Bloomsbury. He is reported to have blamed their concerns on “wokeism”, but a panel of the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal found the evidence against him to be “entirely sincere”, leaving with him legal costs of £41,850.

Among the comments attributed to Mr Stockinger at a work event at the High Court, held by the Solicitors’ Association of Higher Court Advocates in 2019, was a question to a Jewish lawyer on whether she really was Jewish. He also allegedly made inflammatory remarks to a procurement boss of African heritage, as well as numerous sexist comments.

The Solicitors’ Regulatory Authority (SRA) argued that Stockinger’s remarks were racially, ethically, and religiously motivated. The Chair of the Tribunal observed that solicitors must conduct themselves in a way “which reflects everyone’s personal characteristics” and they should “embrace the qualities of equality, diversity and inclusion,” in contrast to Mr Stockinger, who had made “stereotypical assumptions and been patronising.”

Mr Stockinger had claimed that his comments were mere “icebreakers”, but the Tribunal found that “the depth of hurt, humiliation and anger felt, even two years later by the young and diverse legal professionals to whom Mr Stockinger misspoke at that meeting was plain by their evidence to us, which we found entirely sincere. People should not be expected to tolerate this on the basis that in the past people did so.”

Mr Stockinger was also reportedly found guilty of dishonesty – a more serious allegation – by misleading the regulator over a client complaint. He had denied all of the charges.

Mr Stockinger was struck off after 31 years of practice, and reacted to the verdict saying “I’m traumatised”.

“Threatening and antisemitic” messages were reportedly sent by a London hospital staff member to a fellow employee, it was revealed last week.

Police are investigating the messages that were reportedly sent to a critical care staff member at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in Bloomsbury.

In light of the event, senior officials at the University College London Hospitals Trust circulated a letter acknowledging that members of the neurological care team “had reported to have received unpleasant, threatening and antisemitic messages which appear to be sent from within the team.”

The letter continues: “As a team we do not tolerate antisemitism, homophobia, racism, transphobia or any other actions or behaviours which discriminate against others.

“Should we become aware of staff sending such messages this will be investigated as a serious disciplinary matter in line with our Disciplinary Policy.

“Where appropriate we will refer matters to the Metropolitan Police for their investigation to ensure that individuals responsible are held accountable for their actions.

“It is important that we all play our part in taking a stand against antisemitism and all discriminatory behaviour, and we ask that anyone who is subject to, sees or witnesses such behaviour raises their concerns to a member of the senior team below.”

An employee of the hospital said: “I went into the medical profession to care for people regardless of creed or colour, it’s upsetting to think that someone working in a hospital would choose to be antisemitic.”

“What’s happened has been really distressing. But it’s reassuring that the Trust are taking it seriously, even if it has taken them a long time, it’s good they’re saying they won’t tolerate antisemitism,” said another member of staff.

In May, Campaign Against Antisemitism reported that Jewish patients and a staffer had been targeted in multiple antisemitic incidents at two London hospitals.

We also welcomed a statement released by the British Medical Association (BMA) condemning antisemitism and racism.

Labour Party panel conducting an internal review into the Party’s local operations in Liverpool was reportedly “presented with evidence of a history of antisemitism that already has led to expulsions and suspensions.”

The review was launched after allegations arose of “bullying”, “misogyny” and a “toxic culture” in the Labour Party in the city. The panel received 77 written submissions and conducted 53 interviews with 60 individuals, concluding that “Nothing less than a full reset of the Labour Party in Liverpool is needed.”

Included amongst the various problems were allegations of antisemitism, with the panel recommending compulsory antisemitism training for all elected officeholders, from MPs to branch officers. The panel has also recommended that such training should be mandatory for all candidates as well, a policy that Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) endorsed this week.

During the period of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party, two Jewish women MPs from Liverpool – Luciana Berger and Dame Louise Ellman – were hounded from the Party, amid other local controversies relating to antisemitism.

The revelation came in the week of a major meeting of Labour’s NEC, in which it take numerous significant steps in the fight against antisemitism in the Party.

Those steps, however, come following weeks of support by Labour MPs and officeholders of anti-Israel rallies that featured antisemitic chanting and placards and strained relations with the Jewish community yet further. Just this week, another such rally, in Newcastle, was exposed, in which one NEC member and former Labour MP, Laura Pidcock, Cllr Ann Schofield and Daniel Kebede, the Senior Vice President of the the controversial National Education Union, spoke. At the rally, the chant “Khaybar, oh Jews” was heard, a reference to the antisemitic “Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Muhammad is returning” chant. The “Khaybar” chant is a classic Arabic battle cry referencing the massacre and expulsion of the Jews of the town of Khaybar in northwestern Arabia, now Saudi Arabia, in the year 628 CE. The chant has been heard in numerous anti-Israel rallies in Britain and abroad.

The Labour Party was found by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to have engaged in unlawful discrimination and harassment of Jews. The report followed the EHRC’s investigation of the Labour Party in which Campaign Against Antisemitism was the complainant, submitting hundreds of pages of evidence and legal argument. Sir Keir Starmer called the publication of the report a “day of shame” for the Labour Party.

Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer 2019 showed that antisemitism on the far-left of British politics has surpassed that of the far-right.

Campaign Against Antisemitism advocates for zero tolerance of antisemitism in public life. To that end we monitor all political parties and strive to ensure that any cases of concern are properly addressed.

Two Jewish mental health counsellors at Stanford University have alleged that antisemitic incidents occurred during meetings that were a part of an anti-racism programme at the University.

Dr Ronald Albucher and Sheila Levin felt as though their complaints of antisemitism were not taken seriously due to members of the meetings conflating Jewish people with “white identities.”

They said that when discussing an incident that took place in May 2020 where Zoombombers hijacked a Zoom call with racist epithets and swastikas, the racist abuse was talked about but not the swastikas.

When questioned as to why, the counsellors were allegedly told that it was because, as Jews, they could “hide behind their white identity.”

In addition to this, when swastikas were discovered on the University’s Memorial Church last July, they were also not addressed. Another complaint included that a speaker at one of the anti-racist meetings was said to have linked Jewish people with white supremacy.

They also alleged that they were pressured into attending the programme’s “whiteness accountability” group.

In their complaint to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, Dr. Albucher and Ms Levin said that the programme, known as Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, “has created and fostered a hostile work environment for Jewish staff due to severe and persistent harassment.”

They went on to state that the programme “relies upon a narrative that presumes all white people are consciously or unconsciously to blame for system racism in the workplace and in society at large,” and “perceives all Jews as white.”

They also felt as though the members of the programme painted Jewish people as “wealthy and powerful business owners” – a common antisemitic trope – and when Dr Albucher stated in meetings that antisemitism was a real issue, he was accused of “derailing” the discussions.

A spokesperson for the University said: “Stanford forcefully rejects antisemitism in all its forms.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism has expanded our coverage of antisemitism worldwide. Please contact us if you would like to share feedback or volunteer to assist with this project.

 A tribunal has found in favour of a Jewish sales manager who was reportedly dismissed from his firm after alleging racist and sexist discrimination in connection with “unpleasant banter” at the office.

Michael Weinreb took his former employer, Online Travel Training Group, to the tribunal following comments from colleagues such as “Is that the Jew coming out of u [sic]?” and alleged bullying.

After Mr Weinreb raised the complaint, his employment was reportedly terminated, which the court considered amounted to victimisation.

The court said that “We find that the ‘banter’ often crossed the line of acceptable behaviour,” adding: “We note that it is often difficult for the butt of the joke to complain about the joke for fear of being regarded as humourless and, indeed, we find that the claimant put up with a lot of unpleasant banter without complaint in order to have a good working environment.”

However, Mr Weinreb’s claim for discrimination failed due to insufficient evidence that the alleged bullying was motivated by his race or sexuality.

A hearing for remedy is set for July.

A French Jewish police officer found swastikas and “dirty Jew” scrawled on his locker at his police precinct.

The officer, who is part of an elite unit based south-west of Paris, discovered the antisemitic vandalism earlier this month.

The Jewish officer filed a police complaint and the incident is the subject of an internal probe. A French antisemitism watchdog (BNVCA) that was contacted by the officer said that the perpetrator was likely to be a fellow police officer.

The founder of BNVCA, Sammy Ghozlan, a former police commissioner, described the incident as “extremely serious” , as it undermined the Jewish community’s trust in the police who are entrusted, he said, with protecting citizens against antisemitism.

Campaign Against Antisemitism has expanded our coverage of antisemitism worldwide. Please contact us if you would like to share feedback or volunteer to assist with this project.