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Saturday, 14 October 2017

How Manchester University Prostitutes Itself in the Service of Imperial War Criminal Arthur James Balfour

Manchester University censored Holocaust survivor Marika Sherwood but allows the celebration of ethnic cleansing


Manchester University censored the title of the talk by Holocaust survivor Marika Sherwood and limited access to students only
I’ve just written to Nancy Rothwell, the Vice-Chancellor and President of Manchester University to complain of an Israeli government and Zionist event being hosted to commemorate the Balfour Declaration.  Arthur James Balfour, on November 2nd 1917 wrote a letter to Lord Walter Rothschild, promising his best endeavours in setting up a Zionist settler colony in Palestine as a precursor to the Apartheid state that exists there today.

Of course Balfour didn’t quite word it like that.  He spoke of a ‘Jewish national home’ and not prejudicing the ‘civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.’  Which was a curious way to describe over 90% of the population of Palestine.  The Declaration also tried to allay the fears of Jews by promising that it wouldn’t prejudice the rights and political status of Jews in other countries.  Note that it didn’t promise not to prejudice the political rights of the Palestinians.
The Balfour Declaration promised the land of the Palestinians to the Zionists
We can see what Balfour really intended from a letter to his successor as Foreign Secretary Lord Curzon in 1919.
‘in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country…. Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land………. In short, so far as Palestine is concerned, the Powers have made no statement of fact which is not admittedly wrong, and no declaration of policy which, at least in the letter, they have not always intended to violate.

Not for nothing was Britain known as Perfidious Albion.
Manchester University distinguished itself earlier in the year, during Israeli Apartheid week by censoring the title of a talk given by Marika Sherwood, a survivor of the Budapest Ghetto set up in November 1944 during the reign of the pro-Nazi Nyilas/Iron Cross.  Housing some 60,000 Jews its inhabitants were lucky not to have been massacred by the fascists before being rescued by the Soviet invasion of Hungary.

Because the University of Manchester was forced, against its will, by the Information Commissioner to disclose the correspondence it had, we now know that this craven act was carried out at the behest of the Israeli Embassy.  The same Israeli Embassy that is now hosting this event.  What is it about academic institutions that they can’t, when approached by the representatives of Israel’s Apartheid regime, simply say ‘fuck off’ to them.  It is as if Nancy Rothwell and her colleagues lack anything so much resembling a backbone.  The Corporate University of today is nothing more than the transmitter of the dictates of the government of the day. 

Manchester University explains why it is commemorating a war criminal - we're only in it for the money

The title of Marika Sherwood’s talk was forbidden because it infringed the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism.  This definition, which is not legally binding but is the policy of Theresa May’s Tory government, has one aim only – to conflate criticism of Israel and Zionism with anti-Semitism.  It has no other purpose.  Anti-Semitism is extremely easy to define.  It is hostility to or hatred of Jews.  It doesn’t need the 420+ words of the IHRA definition. 

Below is my open letter to Ms Rothwell.

Tony Greenstein
Marika Sherwood - survivor of the Budapest Ghetto

Letter to Vice-Chancellor of Manchester University


PO Box 173
Brighton
BN51 9EZ
Friday 13th October 2017 

Nancy Rothwell,
University of Manchester

Dear Ms Rothwell,

I understand that Manchester University is proposing to host an event on October 31st celebrating the Balfour Declaration of 2nd November 1917.  This event is organised by the Israeli Embassy and the Zionist Federation.  In response to other complainants you wrote:

‘As you may be aware, the University allows some of its premises to be hired by third parties for external events, provided that the events in question comply with the University’s Code of Practice on Freedom of Speech.’

This is disingenuous.  You are responsible for events held on your premises.  What you are celebrating is the decision, by the British Empire to donate the land of the Palestinians to a third party, the Zionist settler colonial movement.  The British Empire has committed enough crimes without you being host to those who glory in them for the sake of petty profit.

You recently censored a talk by Marika Sherwood, a Holocaust survivor.  You refused to allow the meeting to go ahead until the title of the meeting: ‘You’re doing to the Palestinians what the Nazis did to me’ was changed.  You also insisted that attendance was limited to university students and staff only.  Your decision to change the title of this talk, especially since the speaker was a Holocaust survivor, was outrageous by any measure.

This was only revealed when you were forced to disclose what you did by the Information Commissioner. As the Guardian reported, the Israeli Embassy pressured Manchester University into taking these steps. Your assertion of free speech when it comes to an event celebrating a 100 years of ethnic cleansing is therefore both hypocritical and untrue.  It would seem that Manchester University has a sweet heart relationship with the Israeli Embassy.

If a German university were to celebrate the anniversary of Kristallnacht or an Australian university were to celebrate the extermination of the Aboriginal peoples it would be no different morally to what you are doing.  If you allow this event to go ahead you will be seen to be identified with the Apartheid regime in Tel Aviv and a century of Zionist crimes.

Far from allowing a celebration of the Balfour Declaration Manchester University should be hanging its head in shame.  It was at your institution that Chaim Weizmann, the real author of the Balfour Declaration and President of the Zionist Organisation, taught.  What you and similar academic institutions should be examining is your complicity in the crimes of British imperialism from the slave trade to the free market induced famines in Bengal.

Arthur James Balfour, as Chief Secretary to Ireland, was known as Bloody Balfour on account of the Police murder in 1882 of three demonstrators in the Mitchelstown Massacre in Ireland.  Your refusal to cancel this event, because you will make money from the hire of a hall, demonstrates the lack of any ethics behind the academic ethos of Manchester University. 

Two years after the Declaration, Balfour wrote to Lord Curzon, his successor explaining that:
‘in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country…. Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land………. In short, so far as Palestine is concerned, the Powers have made no statement of fact which is not admittedly wrong, and no declaration of policy which, at least in the letter, they have not always intended to violate.

It is noteworthy that the only member of the Lloyd George Cabinet who opposed the Balfour Declaration was its only Jewish member, Sir Edwin Montagu, who wrote a paper criticising his fellow Cabinet members for anti-Semitism.

As Prime Minister Balfour also introduced the 1905 Aliens Act aimed at preventing the immigration of Jewish refugees fleeing from the pogroms in Czarist Russia.  He was not only a reactionary Tory politician but like many anti-Semites, he disliked Jews but loved Zionism. 

As someone who is Jewish I would urge you, even at this late hour, to put principle before profit and cancel this glorification of the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

Yours sincerely,


Tony Greenstein 

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