How feelings of Jewish insecurity are aggravated by the Community Security Trust

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June 13, 2011 by Antony Lerman

I have always given credit to the Community Security Trust, the private charity that monitors and combats antisemitism in the UK, for its efforts to record expressions of antisemitism as diligently and rigorously as possible. Some accuse CST of deliberately exaggerating the numbers of antisemitic incidents – as if they were actually manufacturing reports from individuals and adding them to their lists – but I don’t believe for one second that this is the case. They go to considerable lengths to ensure that their statistics on manifestations of Jew-hatred are credible. And one very important testament to this is their polite but firm distancing of CST from the Macpherson Report’s recommendation that any racist incident must be recorded by police according to the categorization of it by the victim (I referred to this in a previous post):

The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry definition of a racist incident has significantly influenced societal interpretations of what does and does not constitute racism, with the victim’s perception assuming paramount importance. CST, however, ultimately defines incidents against Jews as being antisemitic only where it can be objectively shown to be the case, and this may not always match the victim’s perception as called for by the Lawrence Inquiry. CST takes a similar approach to the highly complex issue of antisemitic discourse.

But where I and others have differences with CST is over the interpretation of the data they collect and the manner in which they carry out their self-appointed mandate to act as the guardian of the security of the UK Jewish community. And I have always been especially concerned to establish that it is perfectly right for the CST to be subject to public scrutiny of its operations; that a reasoned critique of what it does coming from within the Jewish community is entirely legitimate and should not be seen as unacceptable.

So I was greatly heartened to read Geoffrey Alderman’s recent two columns in the Jewish Chronicle, on 18 April and 10 June, taking the CST to task by questioning whether it ‘represents’ the Jewish community and arguing for much greater transparency about its policy-making and operations. I can hardly say that Alderman and I see eye-to-eye on many things, but on this issue – one which I first began to raise 10 years ago – I think he has done us all an important service by airing his concerns in public. . . .

Read the rest of this post here.

Follow me on Twitter: @tonylerman


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