Lit­tle more than a freak show

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY LEE HARPIN

AHEAD OF last week­end’s an­tiIs­rael con­fer­ence there were loud calls from some in­flu­en­tial fig­ures within the Jewish com­mu­nity that it should be can­celled or pre­vented from tak­ing place.

Hav­ing at­tended two of the three days in Cork, I would ar­gue it was right that the event went ahead.

In re­al­ity, the con­fer­ence proved to be noth­ing short of a freak show, but it did al­low 40 “aca­demics” from in­sti­tu­tions across the UK, Amer­ica, and Is­rael to ex­er­cise their right to free speech — and in the process ex­pose to who­ever was watching just how poi­sonous their views re­ally are.

In the au­di­ence on both days I at­tended was for­mer Labour front­bencher Clare Short. In Ire­land to ap­par­ently show her “sol­i­dar­ity” to­wards the event, she com­plained when I ob­jected to a sug­ges­tion from one open an­ti­semite in the au­di­ence that “Zion­ists de­prive their chil­dren of af­fec­tion to en­sure they be­come killers”.

“You re­ally are rude,” said Ms Short, when I asked the or­gan­is­ers why this kind of an­ti­semitism was al­lowed to go un­chal­lenged. “You mustn’t in­ter­rupt,” she added.

Ms Short could later be heard in con­ver­sa­tion with two women seated be­side her — with one in­sist­ing that Is­rael as a Jewish state must be by def­i­ni­tion racist. Their chat­ter turned to a one-state no Is­rael so­lu­tion. “The Jewish peo­ple would need pro­tec­tion, though,” Ms Short ob­served. But only if they shut up and be­haved them­selves, one

sus­pects.

Clare Short

PHOTO: PA

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