European Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism

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The European Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism was founded in 2007 as "as a think-tank to examine the growth and development of antisemitism in the world today and to explore new strategies for countering this age-old hatred in all its forms."[1]

It was publicly launched in July 2008 with a lecture in the House of Commons by Europe Minister Jim Murphy.[2]

In July 2009, Shahid Malik, Minister for Social Cohesion, launched a report commissioned from the Institute by the Department for Communities and Local Government, entitled Understanding and Addressing the Nazi Card, and pledged to refer the report’s recommendations to the Whitehall Cross-Departmental Task Force on Antisemitism.[3]

Anthony Lerman criticised the report on the Guardian website:

I also believe that there should be no place for Nazi analogies in public debate, but in my view, the argumentation and recommendations in this report are deeply flawed. And when you dig deeper into the reasoning, it seems confused, muddled and contradictory.
While the principle that freedom of speech is not absolute is accepted in English law, not all offensive speech is criminalised. So, merely showing that comparing Israeli behaviour to the Nazis is offensive is no reason to outlaw such discourse. The authors try to get round this by arguing that such comparisons are especially offensive to Jews, because of their history. They say: "Most people would accept that it's completely unacceptable to call a Jewish person a Nazi." The implication here – that it may, therefore, be acceptable in some circumstances to call a non-Jew a Nazi – is unfortunate to say the least. If one is against the use of Nazi comparisons in public debate, it's unacceptable to call anyone a Nazi. In which case, the argument of exceptional offensiveness for Jews doesn't hold.[4]

Lerman went on to suggest that the reports failings reflected the Institute's ethos:

Had this report been commissioned by a university or a serious thinktank with proven expertise in this area, I'm a sure something more useful would have been produced. But the fact that the government can spend £20,000 in this way, backing a dubious body with no track record, is indicative of the sad politicising and devaluing of the entire field of contemporary antisemitism studies.[5]

Neocon connections

The Institute has a number of neoconservative and pro-war Left connections. Its chair Stephen Pollard is a signatory to the British Neocon think tank the Henry Jackson Society. It advisory board includes some of the UK's leading Neocons, such as Tory MP Michael Gove, Douglas Murray (author of Neoconservatism: Why We Need it), Oliver Kamm (Henry Jackson Society, Democratiya and author of Anti-Totalitarianism: The Left-wing Case for a Neoconservative Foreign Policy) and former Tory Director of Research Daniel Finkelstein. Pro-war left figures include Martin Bright who has published a pamphlet with the Policy Exchange and Brian Brivati (Engage, Euston Manifesto, Democratiya, Unite Against Terror), David Hirsh (Engage, Euston Manifesto, Democratiya, Z-word contributor) and Adrian Cohen (Euston Manifesto | Engage | Unite Against Terror). The board also includes a number of hardline Zionists such as Emanuele Ottolenghi of the Transatlantic Institute (a front group for the American Jewish Committee). Among its patrons are other prominent Zionists such as George Weidenfeld who is active in a number of elite, right wing and Neocon connected lobby groups (such as the Club of Three, the EastWest Institute, Institute for Strategic Dialogue and the New Atlantic Initiative)

People

Board of Directors

Patrons

Advisory Board

Rabbi Sidney Brichto | Professor Vernon Bogdanor | Martin Bright | Professor Brian Brivati | Adrian Cohen | Janet Daley | Daniel Finkelstein | Mark Gardner | Michael Gove MP | John Gross | Dr David Hirsh | Dr Paul Iganski | Oliver Kamm | Dominic Lawson | Maureen Lipman | Douglas Murray | Fiyaz Mughal | Dr Emanuele Ottolenghi | Geoffrey Paul | Charles Small | Michael Whine

Staff

Publications

Notes

  1. EUROPEAN INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF CONTEMPORARY ANTISEMITISM, accessed 24 July 2009.
  2. Countering Anti-Semitism, European Institute for the Study of Contemporay Anti-Semitism, p.1, accessed 24 July 2009.
  3. Communities Minister launches new EISCA research, 16 July 2009.
  4. Anthony Lerman, Should we ban 'Nazi analogies'?, guardian.co.uk, 24 July 2009.
  5. Anthony Lerman, Should we ban 'Nazi analogies'?, guardian.co.uk, 24 July 2009.