‘Legitimate criticism of Israel is completely acceptable’

In your report of 6 June 2021, “Leading UK universities breached IHRA guidelines”, the headline must be wrong.

The UK universities potentially broke the IHRA [ International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance] guidelines according to the interpretation as reported by the i24 news site and Pinsker Centre think tank and the Daily Telegraph maybe, but the IHRA guidelines say that ‘legitimate’ criticism of Israel is completely acceptable and that if anybody is accused of anti-Semitism when criticising the policies of the state of Israel, an intent of anti-Semitism in that criticism has to be shown.

The Pinsker Centre think tank thought that the criticism of Israel as Apartheid state was illegitimate. It may do that, but that does not make that criticism illegitimate.

I think that Israel is an Apartheid state, due to the policies of the government, and of course I can give you many examples for this assessment.

During South African Apartheid I did not buy anything South African produced. The same applies for the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile. This did not make me anti-South African or anti-Chilean; on the contrary. The same for Israel: I am not against the state of Israel but I am against the government’s policies.

Professor Emeritus Wolfgang Deckers (PhD), Honorary Fellow, Richmond University, The American University in London, United Kingdom.

Note: The headline of the University World News report in question was corrected on 17 June 2021 to reflect that the allegation was that universities ‘may have’ breached the guidelines, not that they did breach them, and that this was the opinion of the Pinsker Centre think tank.