November 15th-22nd 2002

Dear Redbrick,

Thank you so much for featuring me on the front page of your issue of 1st-7th November under the headline "Lecturer anti-Semitism claim". Fortunately this has not led to any more of the "abusive e-mails and phone messages" you report; on the contrary I have been deluged with messages of support.

You say in response to Shereen Benjamin's letter (8th-14th November) that "Redbrick itself has not accused Sue Blackwell of 'anti-semitism'" and was "simply reporting the fact that the Board of British Jews [sic] has accused her of this". I have not yet obtained a copy of the Board of Deputies' letter but my understanding is that they accused me of being "anti-Israel" as in the quotation you yourselves reported: they have not called me anti-semitic. I know a lot of my accusers don't recognise the difference between anti-Zionism and anti-semitism but I would have expected better of Redbrick journalists.

For the record, I have been an active anti-racist all my adult life and I try to be consistent in this, which means condemning all racism, whether it comes from the mouth of David Blunkett, Robert Mugabe or Ariel Sharon. Also for the record, the University Registrar and Secretary David Allen has stated that I have done nothing wrong and that the University has no plans to remove my website since it complies with the law and the conditions of use of computer facilities. I have always maintained that there was nothing on my web page which promoted either racism or terrorism: I have been completely vindicated.

A recent Channel 4 documentary did a brilliant exposé of Mark Collet, who stood as a BNP candidate while still a student at Leeds University. This young man stated that 1930s Germany was a better place to bring up one's kids than Burnley today and said "I am a Nazi sympathiser: Hitler will live forever". That is a REAL anti-semite for you: unfortunately there are plenty of them about. I do hope that in future, all staff and students who want to oppose anti-semitism on campus will focus their efforts on more appropriate targets.


Sue Blackwell

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Its contents are in no way endorsed by the University of Birmingham.
It was last updated on 25th November 2002.