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GUARDIAN LETTERS ASK – Antisemitic? Or just against the Israeli government’s oppressive actions?

Among several letters challenging allegations of antisemitism at the Oxford University Labour Club, published by the Guardian online, is this one from Jewish supporters of justice for Palestine.

Antisemitism is conspicuous by its absence in your article on “antisemitism” at Oxford University Labour Club.

Antisemitism is abuse, discrimination and hatred of Jews as Jews. Examples of such abuse might be the description of the US ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro, as “a little Jew boy” by former Netanyahu aide Aviv Bushinsky.

If someone had suggested that people should follow the suggestion of the chief rabbi of Safed, Shmuel Eliyahu, that Jews should not rent rooms to Arabs but instead applied an equivalent policy to Oxford’s Jewish students, we could understand and would share the concern.

Perhaps MPs John Mann and Louise Ellman prefer another description for the situation on the West Bank whereby two systems of law operate – one for Palestinians and the other for Jewish settlers? Or why half of Israel’s Arab villages are “unrecognised” and liable to instant demolition, whereas Jewish villages and towns are always recognised?

Whether Israel is an apartheid state or not is a perfectly legitimate political debate. Jewish students can be found on both sides of this debate. It is not, however, antisemitic.

Those who deliberately confuse antisemitism and anti-Zionism give comfort and aid to the real antisemites in our society. Like the boy who cried wolf, they ensure that if antisemitism does rear its ugly head, people will assume that this is just another false accusation.
Tony Greenstein
Professor Haim Bresheeth
Professor Jonathan Rosenhead
Professor Steven Rose
Miriam Margolyes
Tamar Steinitz
Merav Pinchassoff
Amanda Sebestyen
Deborah Fink
Craig Berman
Susanne Levin
Leah Levane
Ben Young
Richard Kuper
Miriam Yagud
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi
Beryl Maizels
Brian Robinson
Mike Cushman
Les Levidow

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RED CARD UEFA CAMPAIGN ENTERS NEW PHASE

The Red Card Israeli Apartheid campaign is launching a new phase of its activities aimed at persuading UEFA, football’s European governing body, not to grant Israel the privilege of hosting the Under-21 competition in 2013.
Following publication in the Guardian newspaper of the letter below, signed by several prominent Europeans, we are now working with activists across the continent to have the letter more widely published and to build pressure on the football authorities to respond to the Palestinian appeal.
So far not one word of acknowledgement has been received from UEFA for the letter they received back in June from representative Gazan sporting organisations.
Please tweet, Facebook, post and blog in order to pile the pressure on UEFA chief Michel Platini to get this decision reversed.
Israel’s stance in the community of nations
Those who lead European football must respond to an appeal from Palestinians dismayed at the prospect of Israel hosting Uefa’s under-21 tournament in 2013. A state that uses military might to hold sway over land it illegally occupies and exploits, flouts international law and ignores UN resolutions surely forfeits the right to be treated as a member of the community of nations. But western powers continue to embrace Israel as an ally.  
During the 2011 under-21 tournament in Denmark in June, 42 Gazan football clubs, backed by many sporting bodies, wrote to Uefa president Michel Platini calling on his organisation not “to reward Israel for its violent repression of Palestinian rights”.
We ask Uefa to respond positively to this plea.
Stephane Hessel diplomat
Ken Loach filmmaker 
Michael Mansfield barrister
Miriam Margolyes actor
Nurit Peled Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought joint winner 2001
John Pilger journalist and filmmaker,
Ahdaf Soueif novelist and political and cultural commentator
Jean Ziegler vice-president, advisory committee of the UN human rights council
© 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited