Novelist sees nothing wrong with gender discrimination when the victim is a Muslim woman

The Zionist lobby suffered a humiliating setback recently when an Employment Tribunal case brought by pro-Israel activist Ronnie Fraser, who complained that he had been subjected to discrimination by the University and College Union, was comprehensively rejected by the tribunal.

In Friday’s Independent one of the witnesses to who gave evidence in support of Fraser, novelist Howard Jacobson, attacked the tribunal judge Anthony Snelson for dismissing the charge that the UCU was institutionally antisemitic because it opposed Israeli oppression of the Palestinians. Not content with implying that Snelson is biased against Jews, Jacobson also suggested that the judge is inclined to rule in favour of Muslims (in Jacobson’s mind there is evidently a clear link between the two).

It was this same Judge Snelson, reader, who ruled in favour of a Muslim woman claiming the cocktail dress she was expected to wear, while working as a cocktail waitress in Mayfair, “violated her dignity”. Not for him the cheap shot of wondering what in that case she was doing working as a cocktail waitress in a cocktail bar in Mayfair. If she felt she was working in a “hostile environment”, then she was working in a “hostile environment”, which is not to be confused with a Jew feeling he is working in a hostile environment since with the abolition of anti-Semitism there is no such thing as an environment that’s hostile to a Jew. My point being that Judge Snelson’s credentials as a man who knows a bigot from a barmcake are impeccable.

Mark Elf of Jews sans frontieres points out that the court in fact ruled in favour of Fata Lemes, the woman who brought the case, on the grounds she was discriminated against as a woman, not as a Muslim. As Elf observes: “Maybe her being a Muslim made her more culturally aware of the different way in which she was being treated from her male colleagues but that would be a compliment to Muslims, not the put-down that Jacobson clearly intended.”