Israel flag-wavers in US and UK suffer double whammy

In Europe and the United States, Israel’s stooges have suffered setbacks in their attempts to silence critics and destroy the careers of anti-apartheid campaigners.

Today, the Electronic Intifada reported that the body set up to deal with student complaints in England and Wales had turned down a complaint from a former Israeli student who claimed that she hadn’t been given high enough marks because she is Israeli.

Smadar Bakovic, an Israeli Masters student formerly at Warwick [University] who also works for an anti-Palestinian media group in Jerusalem, complained to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator last year. The OIA says she was unhappy that the university “refused to criticize” [her supervisor] Professor Nicola Pratt for giving her dissertation a mark of 62 per cent.

Bakovic claimed that Warwick’s complaints committee “did not make any provision for compensating me for the unsatisfactory teaching” – despite the fact the university allowed her to rewrite her dissertation with a new supervisor in 2011.

“She also seeks financial compensation,” the OIA’s Complaint Outcome stated last week.

The Israeli had taken a dislike to Pratt because the latter is a supporter of boycotts of Israeli academic institutions.

According to the new finding, Bakovic cited Pratt’s description as an activist in the “international peace/anti-war movement” on the university website as grounds for changing supervisors. According to Bakovic, the document states, this was an indicator of being “prejudiced in her views about Israel and Israelis.”

However, the OIA found  no evidence for Bakovic’s complaint that the rewritten dissertation’s higher mark (71 per cent) shows Pratt’s mark for the original was “biased marking”.

Meanwhile, in the US a federal complaint against the University of California, Berkeley, for failing to curb anti-Israel protests on campus which allegedly created a hostile environment for Jewish students has been dismissed, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports.

The complaint, filed last year by two recent graduates with the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, referred specifically to the annual February Apartheid Week demonstration. It charged that the demonstration violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars the recipients of federal funds from discriminating on the basis of race, color or national origin. In 2010, the US Department of Education extended Title VI to include the protection of Jewish students from anti-Semitism on campuses.

However, an investigation by Office of Civil Rights, which included interviews with students and observations of the demonstrations, has concluded that the events described in the complaint did not constitute harassment but rather an “expression on matters of public concern directed to the university community”.

“In the university environment, exposure to such robust and discordant expressions, even when personally offensive and hurtful, is a circumstance that a reasonable student in higher education may experience,” the investigators said.

Their view was echoed by the university’s chancellor, Nicholas Dirks, who said the claim of a hostile environment for Jewish students “is, on its face, entirely unfounded”.

The university, he added, will continue to protect the right to free speech while promoting respectful dialogue and maintaining a campus environment that is safe for all our students”.

While we have no doubt that vexatious litigation by Israel’s pimps and stooges will continue, it’s also heartening that public bodies are beginning to stand up to the kind of bullying that has allowed Israel and its apologists to stymie free speech, wreck careers and get away with one big lie after another.

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