Dec 01, 2021
JERUSALEM WEATHER

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A journal out of the University of Glasgow has revised an apology they issued for publishing a peer-reviewed article that promoted antisemitic conspiracy theories, following criticism from hundreds of scholars and adversaries of Israel.

Th 2017 article, which was published in the postgraduate journal eSharp, — “Advocating Occupation: Outsourcing Zionist Propaganda in the UK,” by then-University of Exeter student Jane Jackman — sparked controversy in 2020, after pro-Israel activist David Collier flagged its contents accusing it of being “laden with conspiracy, antisemitism, and errors.”

Back then, Collier’s essay compelled the university to note its recent implementation of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, and its mission to “a zero-tolerance approach to antisemitism and hate speech of any kind.”

In May, the editors of the publication appended a disclaimer to the article, apologizing for its substandard research and antisemitic material.

“This article employs some discursive strategies, including a biased selection of sources as well as the misrepresentation of data, which promote an unfounded antisemitic theory regarding the State of Israel and its activity in the United Kingdom,” eSharp stated. “We would like to apologize that our editorial procedures did not identify those failures in scholarship.”

This move compelled more than 500 academics — including anti-Israel activist Noam Chomsky — to sign a petition blasting the university for quelling what they claim is free speech.

The eSharp journal has now decided to revise that part of the article’s disclaimer, reading: “This article employs some discursive strategies, including a biased selection of sources as well as the misrepresentation of data, which promote what some would regard as an unfounded theory regarding the State of Israel and its activity in the United Kingdom.”

Collier called the revision: “an act of cowardice.”

“It was a gutter piece and the underlying thread was that people like myself are effectively fifth columnists working inside the UK for a foreign nation —which is a basic antisemitic trope,” he said in an interview with The Guardian.

A University of Glasgow spokesperson said: “The university does not agree that publication of the editorial is damaging to academic freedom. The article remains on the journal’s website and readers are free to endorse it or challenge it as they see fit.”