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Jewish member to sue British academic union

JTA

July 12, 2011 | 10:42 am

A Jewish member of Britain’s University and College Union is suing the academic group for what he alleges is a pattern of anti-Semitic harassment.

Ronnie Fraser, chairman of the Academic Friends of Israel group, in a letter to UCU general secretary Sally Hunt wrote of his plans to sue the union, contending that its recent vote to distance itself from the European Union’s working definition of anti-Semitism created an “intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating” work environment.

Fraser’s group works to fight the academic boycott that UCU has approved three times since 2007.

“In simple terms, the UCU is not a place that is hospitable to Jews,” the letter reads. “This is not just a violation of equality legislation, it is also a scandal.”

The letter, which requests a response from Hunt by Aug. 5, was written by prominent British attorney Anthony Julius, but it says that it speaks for Fraser and his concerns.

Among the UCU actions that the letter says create a hostile environment for Jews are the academic boycott vote, a failure to properly communicate with the union’s Jewish membership and the warm welcome UCU gave last year to Bongani Masuku, the South African official who frequently has made anti-Semitic statements.

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