Аdam O'Connell
Аdam O’ConnellMay 5, 2010 at 3:44am
Subject: Urgent Communication
Dear Friends,
Last night in Guild Council, the motion on the EUMC definition of antisemetism was passed.
First, the Guild President had an amendment to the motion approved to take away the parts of the motion that give future presidents the power to ban speakers based on the definition. This makes little or no difference as Guild Presidents currently have to sign off all speaker request forms taking everything into account anyway.
Then, all attempts to remove the following points from the otherwise reasonable definition of anti-semetism were resisted, both by Guild Councillors and the Council Chairs:
– Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
– Applying double standards by requiring of it a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
– Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
Then, as the discussion/debate was getting more constructive, a member of the Guild executive proposed to go straight to a vote without any further discussion. The vote took place and the motion was passed by a clear majority of votes.
So now, the Guild of Students considers the above three points to be manifestations of antisemetism as a matter of policy.
Not only is this bad for critics of Israel, but the true meaning of antisemetism has been slaughtered.
However, we urge people not to panic, feel intimidated, or react impulsively. This is only a minor setback, and we must challenge it.
Due to the implications of this motion, and the low turnout at our AGM (Annual General Meeting), we would like to call a second AGM between two weeks from now and the end of term.
We understand that exams and revision may make attendance to this meeting problematic, but we will try to find a date and time that suits the majority.
We urge you all to reply to this message ASAP with the best possible dates and times for you so that we can book a room and announce the AGM.
The meeting will be split into three parts, and we will only require you to come to the first part if you are short on time:
1. Elections.
2. Discussion of the implications of this motion getting passed.
3. Discussion of ideas for next year.
We urge you all to come, as not only does the society depend on your attendance for the AGM to be valid by Guild standards and healthy for the functioning of the society; but your freedom to critisize Israel, and relations between ethno-religious groups on campus may all depend on your participation also.
In Solidarity,
Adam O’Connell
University of Birmingham Friends of Palestine Society
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