Published on 7th August 2020 at 16:13.
We at the Students’ Union were horrified by the recent antisemitic statements made by Grime artist Wiley, which are explained below this statement*. We stand in solidarity with our Jewish students. We oppose all forms of antisemitism and understand that it is pervasive and systemic in our society, and works to affect students’ lives at University, as well. As an organisation that is committed to being anti-racist, we will work with our Jewish students and others to bring to light the ways in which antisemitism functions at Sussex and work to end it.**
Equally as disappointing as the initial statements made by Wiley were the affirming responses by many of his Twitter followers. We want to remind every student that this kind of rhetoric has no place in our institutions or our lives. We cannot allow these stereotypes to be spread or for such hateful and baseless language to be used. We see the uptick in antisemitic incidents around the world, and the ways in which people abuse their platform and reach to spread hate. We will work to ensure that this hate speech is not given the same platform in our institutions.
We stand shoulder to shoulder with Jewish people around the world who are victimised by this prejudice, and want our Jewish students to know that we will fight with and for you however we can. We also note that this time has been particularly difficult for Jewish people who are Black, and extend our solidarity to you.
If anyone is interested in resources on antisemitism, we have compiled a short list below. We will be adding to this; if anyone has suggestions of reading or other media, please contact any of the officer team.
*In his Twitter rant, Wiley claimed (as Michael Richmond explains) that ‘the racialised figure of “the Jew”’ controlled many aspects of society, locally and globally, including the music industry. Wiley also implied that Jewish people as a group shared particular undesirable character traits and called for violence against them, as well as engaging in Holocaust denial. Obviously, these statements are false and antisemitic. They have since been deleted by Twitter after many groups called for a 48-hour ‘walkout’ of the social media platform, mainly due to its moderators’ slowness in responding to Wiley’s tweets.
**If anyone is interested in collaborating with us on this, we would love to hear from you. Please contact our Diversity, Access and Participation Officer, Nehaal Bajwa ([email protected]) or our International Officer, Ijlal Khalid ([email protected]).
Resources on antisemitism:
- The Sussex Library anti-racism reading list has a section on anti-racism and anti-semitism, to be found here: https://bit.ly/libraryantisemitismreading
- Cathy Elliot writes in Renewal of the articulation of antisemitism on campuses, how the debate over this has been polarised, resulting in antagonism towards Jewish voices: http://www.renewal.org.uk/articles/learning-lessons-the-articulation-of-antisemitism-on-campus
- Na’amod: British Jews Against Occupation have written the following statement in response to Wiley’s tweets: https://twitter.com/NaamodUK/status/1287370543893798913
- Michael Richmond has written ‘On “Black Antisemitism” and Anti-racist Solidarity’ explicitly discussing Wiley’s tweets and the responses, as well as why the idea of a particularly-virulent ‘Black antisemitism’ is false, and racist - content note for quoting antisemitic tweets and comments: https://newsocialist.org.uk/black-antisemitism-and-antiracist-solidarity/
- Liz Fekete at the Institute of Race Relations has written this piece on the government’s strategy of dealing separately with ‘individual’ hate and bigotry and structural racism, and the dangers of this: http://www.irr.org.uk/news/fault-lines-in-the-fight-against-racism-and-antisemitism/
- Sai Englert writes in Salvage about contemporary antisemitism, its specificity and how it is taken to be linked to the activities of the Israeli state: https://salvage.zone/articles/recentring-the-state-a-response-to-barnaby-raine-on-anti-semitism/