Academic Anti-Semitism Gets Worse in Britain

Once again the academic community in Great Britain is exhibiting an alarming and increasing hostility towards Israel and the world Jewish community. The JTA reports that Holocaust denier David Irving has been invited to speak to the Oxford Debating Society, at the invitation of the famous Oxford Union. Oxford Jewish Society co-presidents Daniel Bloch and Steven Altmann-Richer said, of the invitation, “It will be a disgrace if these discredited speakers are allowed at a platform on free speech. They have an embarassing history of disregard for legal restrictions on it,” adding that “it will certainly go down as a black mark on the reputation of the Oxford Union.” The Jewish student co-presidents were referring to the fact that not only will the infamous David Irving be given a platform, but invitations have also been extended to British National Party Chairman Nick Griffin, whose movement is described as neo-fascist, and Belarussian dictator Alexander Lukoshenko. The deplorable decision by the Oxford Union follows by only a few weeks the odious vote by a majority of the members of the British Academic Union to boycott Israeli universities and scholars.

What is going on here? Has the statute of limitations expired on open and overt anti-Semitism on college campuses, of all places? How could any university offer the prestige of an official platform to David Irving who has twice been formally and judicially found to have engaged in Holocaust denial or minimalization? Most famously, Irving sued Jewish scholar Deborah Lipstadt for having called Irving a Holocaust denier and minimizer in one of her books. Lipstadt won the verdict, and the judge in that case formally found that Irving had indeed engaged in Holocaust denial and minimization. Irving was also convicted in Austria for violating that nation’s laws against Holocaust denial. Apparently these established facts did not discourage the Oxford Union from extending the invitation to Irving to appear before the Oxford Debating Society. It is high time that this parade of Jew-haters and Israel-bashers be consigned to the lunatic fringe which they occupy and where they deserve to remain.