I first came to UCL in 1998 to study with Jonathan Israel as an intercollegiate student. From 2000 to 2003, having been awarded a Major Graduate School Research Scholarship, I undertook my doctoral research in the Hebrew & Jewish Studies Department. Since 2003, I have held an honorary appointment in Hebrew & Jewish Studies, where I taught various courses from 2001 to 2004 and in 2007/08 and 2014/15. In addition, I was a lecturer in German History and served as admissions tutor in the German Department from 2004 to 2007 and was a teaching fellow in the History Department from 2013 to 2016. There was a time when I could barely contain my pride in my affiliation with UCL and my heart jumped with joy every morning when I came to work there.
Since the end of my academic career, my ability to continue working as a scholar has depended almost entirely on my honorary appointment in Hebrew & Jewish Studies and my activity as review editor of the journal of the Jewish History Society of England, Jewish Historical Studies, which is edited in the department. This afforded me access to resources without which I can hardly function as a credible scholar.
Towards the end of 2020, I became aware of the fact that my former supervisor, with whom I have collaborated closely for the best part of two decades, and of whom, his endless anti-Israeli vitriol notwithstanding, I assumed he would not go as far as siding publicly with the antisemitism promoters who now dominate the academy, had signed the newest antisemites’ petition. After some consideration (and having left him in no doubt about my opinion), I decided not to let this drive me out. I would do my best to uphold a minimum of cooperation in as dispassionate a manner as possible, so as to allow me to continue working as a scholar.
However, I have now become aware of the prominent role colleagues from Hebrew & Jewish Studies have played in spearheading the appalling assault on the IHRA definition currently being mounted at UCL. When I embarked on the academic study of antisemitism, it was still taken for granted that one did so in order to combat antisemitism. These days have long gone, and the academy is now full of academics who specialize in explaining why only some forms of antisemitism are harmful and others are not actually forms of antisemitism anyway. Whatever they may believe their subjective intentions to be, they are doing wonders for antisemitism promotion and the fact that nobody can evidently curtail their criminal conduct is one of the greatest problems the planet currently faces.
Not being able to stop these reprehensible people in their tracks is bad enough, but each and every one of us has a duty at least to avoid becoming complicit in their antisemitism-promoting activities. I am therefore left with no choice but to resign my affiliation with Hebrew & Jewish Studies, even if this decision does amount to a likely fatal blow to my ability to function as a scholar.
To my former colleagues I say: You are all going to hell!