I am a senior lecturer in law at Sheffield Hallam University and an affiliate professor of law at Haifa University. I teach modules in English legal system, legal and social theory, criminal justice, and research methods. I research in contemporary antisemitism and have published and given talks on campus antisemitism, left antisemitism, and Holocaust distortion. I am editor of the Journal of Contemporary Antisemitism, associate editor of the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism, and am a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of the Social Research Foundation. I serve on the academic advisory boards of the Louis D Brandeis Center for Human Rights under Law, Washington D.C., and the Berlin International Center for the Study of Antisemitism. I am a member of UK Lawyers for Israel, an NGO which provides pro bono legal assistance to victims of antisemitism and seeks to ensure the proper application of the law in matters relating to Israel. Prior to taking up my post at Sheffield Hallam University, I was a visiting associate professor of law in the United States for 7 years.
During my tenure at Sheffield Hallam University I have developed and delivered legal method and legal research modules for postgraduate programmes such as the LLM in Healthcare Law, the LLM in Corporate Law and Strategy and the Graduate Diploma in Law. I have also developed and delivered skills courses which incorporated academic skills, legal skills, lawyering skills, employability skills, PDP skills, and IT skills; and I introduced Mooting into the law curriculum in 1994.
During my time at Sheffield Hallam University I have also held a variety of non-teaching roles, including Orientation Tutor, Dissertation Tutor, Level 5 Year Tutor, Level 6 Year Tutor, and Careers Advisor.
I currently serve as the Equality & Diversity Coordinator for Law; Academic Advisor, BA Law & Criminology. I am also I am a member of the Human Rights & Social Justice Research Cluster, and the Socio-Legal Studies Research Cluster (member).
My areas of interest are contemporary antisemitism, critical race theory, theories of adjudication.
Department Of Law and Criminology
Social Sciences and Humanities
English Legal System
Legal Perspectives on Criminal Justice
I research on contemporary antisemitism, with particular emphasis on discourse analysis in order to identify the replication of contemporary and traditional antisemitic tropes in criticism of the state of Israel, conceived of as the ‘Jewish collective’, or the ‘Jew among nations’. My work has focused mainly on campus antisemitism, Holocaust inversion (a form of Holocaust distortion whereby Jews/ Zionists/ Israelis are portrayed as Nazis), and antisemitism in the Labour Party. The theme that draws these areas together is the relationship between hostility to Israel and anti-Semitism.
Dr Jonathan Campbell, Senior Lecturer in Biblical & Jewish Studies, University of Bristol
Dr Karin Stoegner, Lecturer in Sociology, University of Vienna
Dr Nicolas Bechter, University of Vienna
Philip Spencer, Emeritus Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Kingston University
UK Lawyers for Israel, London
Louis D Brandeis Center for Human Rights under Law, Washington DC
The Newton and Rochelle Becker Charitable Trust
The Knapp Family Foundation, New York
The Community Security Trust, London
BIRTHA, Bristol University
The Board of Deputies of British Jews
The Israeli Embassy, London
The Becker Trust, Jerusalem.
The Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice
Lesley Klaff, ‘Holocaust Inversion’ Fathom 5, ISSN 2052 0530 available at: http://www.fathomjournal.org/policy-politics/holocaust-inversion/. This article was also translated into Polish and is available at: "Listy z naszego sadu" - http://www.listyznaszegosadu.pl/brunatna-fala/inwersja-holocaustu.
This article was cited in Alan Johnson, ‘Intellectual Incitement: The Anti-Zionist Ideology and the Creation of the Anti-Zionist Subject’, in Cary Nelson and Gabriel Noah Brahm, The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel (Chicago MLA Members for Scholars Rights 2015). This article was cited by David Hirsh, Contemporary Left Antisemitism (Routledge, 2017), p. 24 & p. 77.
This article was cited and quoted by Professor Ben Gidley in his Report to the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry on Anti-Semitism, '50 days in the summer: Gaza, political protest and antisemitism in the UK,' January 2015.
Lesley Klaff, “Political and Legal Judgment: Misuses of the Holocaust in the UK,” Journal for the Study of Antisemitism 5 (1) (June 2013) 45
Lesley Klaff, “Political and Legal Judgment: Misuses of the Holocaust in the UK”, International Journal of the Social Research Foundation 1(2) (July-December 2013)
This article was cited in Alan Johnson, ‘Intellectual Incitement: The Anti-Zionist Ideology and the Creation of the Anti-Zionist Subject’ in Cary Nelson and Gabriel Noah Brahm, The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel (Chicago MLA Members for Scholars Rights 2015).
Lesley Klaff, ‘Anti-Zionist Expression on the UK Campus: Free Speech or Hate Speech?’ Jewish Political Studies Review (22) 3-4 (Fall 2010) 87
This article was cited in Kenneth L. Marcus ‘The New OCR Antisemtism Policy,’ 2(2) Journal for the Study of Antisemitism (December 2010) 479 fn 33
This article was cited and quoted by Richard Mather in his Op Ed, 'Anti-Zionism is incitement to racial hatred' in the Arutz Sheva newspaper, 12 February, 2015.
Lesley Klaff, ‘Antisemitism on Campus: A New Look at Legal Interventions,’ 2 (2) Journal for the Study of Antisemitism (December 2010) 303
This article was cited in Professor M. Yudkin, ‘The British Faculty UCU Boycott and Rejection of the EUMC’s Working Definition in Perspective: Letter to Colleagues,’ SPME Faculty Forum, MAY 31st, 2011
This article was also discussed in Winston Pickett, ‘The law exists to stop the bigots’, Jewish Chronicle, January 28th 2011, p. 5
Both of these articles were cited in Ofira Seliktar, ‘Academic Freedom in Israel: A Comparative Perspective’ (Israel Academia Monitor, 2013)
Lesley Klaff, ‘Antisemitism v Anti-Zionism,’ 2 (2) Journal for the Study of Antisemitism (December 2010) 407 (published conference paper)
Lesley Klaff, ‘Demoralization and Contemporary English Antisemitism,’ 2(2) Journal for the Study of Antisemitism (December 2010) 459 (published conference paper).
Lesley Klaff, ‘Fighting Back Against Campus Antisemitism’: Review of Kenneth L. Marcus’s ‘Jewish Identity and Civil Rights in America’ (Cambridge University Press, 2010) 3 (2) Journal for the Study of Antisemitism (December 2011) 747
The above book review was awarded ‘Best Book Review’ certificate
Lesley Klaff, ‘The Background Noise’: Review of Anthony Julius’s ‘Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England,’ (Oxford University Press, 2010) 2 (1) Journal for the Study of Antisemitism (June 2010) 205
I serve on the advisory board of the Berlin International Center for the Study of Antisemitism
I serve on the academic advisory board of the Louis D Brandeis Center for Human Rights under Law, Washington DC, which was established to fight campus antisemitism by means of education, research and advocacy.
I am a member of UK Lawyers for Israel, an NGO which was set up to provide pro bono legal advice and representation for victims of antisemitism. I have special responsibility for campus antisemitism.
I am an associate editor of the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism
I am editor of the Journal of Contemporary Antisemitism
I am on the editorial board of the International Journal of the Social Science Research Foundation
Recent research-related activity since 2013:
On 19th May, 2017, I presented the Robert S. Wistrich Memorial Lecture at the Berlin International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (BICSA), entitled, ‘Robert Wistrich and Holocaust Inversion: The British Context’. The audio recording can be heard at http://www/bicsa.org/uncategorized/robert-s-wistrich-memorial-lecture-2017-audio/
My research on Holocaust inversion was cited in evidence to the Chakrabarti Inquiry, June 2016, and in evidence to The House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, Antisemitism in the UK, July 2016, by Professor Alan Johnson of Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM).
I gave a paper entitled, ‘Legacies of the Holocaust: Denial and Other Distortions’, at the ‘Genocide and Human Rights in Comparative Perspective Workshop’, Kalamazoo College, Michigan, 15 April 2016. I also acted as a discussant for Legacies of the Holocaust I panel.
I co-edited a special issue of the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism, ‘Contemporary Antisemitism in the Shadow of the Holocaust’ with Dr Karin Stoegner and Dr Nicolas Bechter of the University of Vienna, and Emeritus Professor Philip Spencer of Kingston University (2016).
In September 2014 I presented the paper ‘Holocaust Inversion in British Politics: The Case of David Ward’ at the 11th ESA Conference, University of Vienna.
In September 2014 I presented the paper ‘Holocaust Inversion in British Politics: The Case of David Ward’ at the 11th ESA Conference, University of Vienna.
In May 2014, I was invited to participate in an international scholars’ conference at the Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (SICSA), Hebrew University, Jerusalem, by the late Professor Robert Wistrich. The paper was entitled, ‘Holocaust Inversion in British Politics: The Case of David Ward’. My visit was fully funded by SICSA.
I spoke at the Liberal-Democrat Annual General Conference in Glasgow, September 2013, on the topic of contemporary antisemitism and Holocaust inversion. Other panel members were Mark Gardiner, Communications Director of the Community Security Trust, and Maajid Nawaz, Founder of the Quilliam Foundation. The panel was chaired by Alistair Carmichael MP.
On 23 May 2013, I presented a paper at Rio de Janeiro State University’s II Colloquio Internacional Politicas, Direitos, Etica entitled, ‘Political and Legal Judgment: Misuses of the Holocaust in the UK’. My presentation can be viewed at www.m.youtube.com/watchv=xsVLfcAU5s0/
I have been invited by Israel Academia Monitor (IAM) to present a paper on the academic boycott campaign in Britain at their annual conference, titled, The Academy – Where To? Held at Tel Aviv University, May 10th 2018. The paper is titled, ‘The British Academic Boycott: From the National Union of Students to the University and College Union.’
I was interviewed by Manfred Gestenfeld of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs about campus antisemitism in the UK in February 2017 and the interview was published in Antisemitisme et liberte d’expression sur les campus britanniques, http://Jforum.fr/antisemitism-et-liberte-dexpression-sur-les-campus.html (French); in www.audiatur-online-ch./2017/03/07/antisemitismus-und-redefreiheit-an-universitaeten-in-grossbritannien/ (German); in Arutz Sheva,‘UK campus anti-Semitism and the state of free speech’ (English) at www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/20413/ and in tundratabloids, ‘Dr Manfred Gerstenfeld interviews Lesley Klaff: UK antisemitism and free speech’ (English), www.tundratabloids.com/2017/04/dr-mandfred-gerstenfeld-interviews-lesley-klaff-uk-campus-antisemitism—and-free-speech/lesley-klaff/
On 12th January, 2017, I participated in one-day Church of England consultation event to discuss the rise in campus antisemitism at the invitation of the Rev’d Gary Neave, Advisor to the Church of England on Further & Higher Education, Church House, London. This event, which was chaired by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, will culminate in the drafting of guidance for university chaplains on how to tackle campus antisemisitism. On November 9th 2016, Engage (the anti-racist campaign against antisemitism) published my account of the Sheffield Hallam University campus antisemitism case at https://engageonline.wordpress.com/2016/09/regulator-raps-university-that-sided-with-Jew-baiting-PalSoc
On November 4th 2016, an article about the Sheffield Hallam University campus antisemitism case was published by journalist Ben Cohen as ‘UK Universities Regulator Strikes Blow Against Campus Anti-Semitism’, in The Tower, at https://thetower.org/uk-universities-regulator-strikes-blow-against-campus-anti-semitism.
From June 2014 – October 2016 I assisted a disabled student who identifies as Jewish in a campus antisemitism case against Sheffield Hallam University, along with retired former solicitor, Mr David Lewis. The case was referred to us as members of UKLFI. In March 2016, Sheffield Hallam University dismissed the student’s complaint. In May 2016, David Lewis and I appealed to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) and in October 2016 the OIA upheld the student’s complaint of antisemitic environment harassment against the university under the Equality Act 2010. Of particular significance is the fact that the OIA decision endorsed the formal adoption by universities of the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism and recognised the fact that certain forms of anti-Zionist expression on campus can harass a student who identifies as Jewish.
I gave a paper for Israel Academic Monitor at Tel Aviv University on May 10, 2016, entitled, Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism and Racializing Discourse in Fraser v UCU. My visit was funded by Israel Academia Monitor.
I gave a paper entitled Fraser v UCU: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism and Racializing Discourse, at the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism, Indiana University, 2 – 6 April, 2016. The paper appears as a chapter in Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, and the Dynamics of Delegitimization (Indiana University Press, 2017).
I gave a paper entitled, ‘Using Section 26 Equality Act 2010 to Combat Institutional Antisemitism: A Critical Race Perspective on Fraser v University and College Union’ at the First Bristol-Sheffield Hallam Colloquium on Contemporary Antisemitism at the University of Bristol, 16 September, 2015. The paper appears as a chapter in, Unity and Diversity in Contemporary Antisemitism: The Bristol-Sheffield Hallam Colloquium on Contemporary Antisemitism (Academic Studies Press, 2017)
In September 2015 I drafted a letter, along with Jonathan Turner QC and Baroness Ruth Deech, outlining the legal responsibilities of universities to Jewish students. This was circulated to all university vice-chancellors in England and Wales.
At the invitation of Lord Bew, I participated in a Roundtable Discussion on Campus Antisemitism with various vice-chancellors and Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK, in the House of Lords on 7 October, 2014. It was chaired by Claire Fox of the Moral Maze.
I was interviewed for and appeared in the 2014 January documentary on campus antisemitism, Crossing the Line: The Intifada Comes to Campus, produced by Raphael Shore and directed by Wayne Kopping.
Antisemitism in the Labour Party:
On 1st October 2017, I acted as Respondent in a 3-Book event at JW3, London, featuring authors Robert Fine and Philip Spencer (‘Antisemitism and the Left’), David Hirsh (‘Contemporary Left Antisemitism’) and Dave Rich (‘The Left’s Jewish Problem’) explaining why there are three new books on left antisemitism.
I appeared in a documentary about the rise of antisemitism in the UK’s Labour Party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and the Chakrabarti Inquiry, which was first screened on 26th June 2017 and may be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=te684rBHzOA
My submission of evidence to the Chakrabarti Inquiry was published in a book entitled, ‘Whitewashed: Anti-Semitism in the Labour Party’, edited by Judith Ornstein (Kitty Hawk Press Ltd, 2017).
On June 7th, 2017, I was quoted in Algemeiner on the topic of the UK general election and Jewish voting patterns. The article appears at: https://www.algemeiner.com/2017/06/07/british-jews-set-to-abandon-labour-party-as-uk-voters-head-to-polls-for-parliamentary-elections/
On October 18th, 2016, I published an article in The Conversation entitled “Why all Labour members need to read parliament’s antisemitism report”, which addressed the failing of the Chakrabarti Report to define what antisemitism means, see, www.theconversation.com/uk/topics/uk-politics-874?page=10/.
I submitted evidence of antisemitism to the Chakrabarti Inquiry into antisemitism and other forms of racism, 10th June, 2016.
I gave a paper entitled, ‘Jeremy Corbyn: Why the British Labour Party is No Longer a Safe Place for Jews’ at the Mid-Western Political Science Association Conference, Chicago, 7 April, 2016. This paper was subsequently published in International Relations and Diplomacy.
I gave a paper and participated in a panel discussion on ‘The Left and the Jews in Britain Today’ at The Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, Birkbeck, University of London, 3 November, 2015. I was invited by the Director of the Institute, Professor David Feldman. My presentation can be heard at: www.pearsinstitute.bbk.ac.uk/events/past-events/2015-events/the-left-and-jews-in-britain—today/
Other Activities evidencing engagement with stakeholders and impact:
(in reverse chronological order)
I have agreed to act as a consultant on an antisemitism project for Google. The project will involve my contributing to a lexicon of antisemitic terms; guidance for researchers categorising antisemitic social media posts; and a taxonomy of antisemitic extremism. The work will take place in July 2018.
I have been invited to present a paper at the 4th Sheffield Hallam Public Law Conference, 11th April, 2018, titled, 'Free Speech on Campus: Absolute or Qualified?' at the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice.
I have been invited to address, on behalf of the NGO UK Lawyers for Israel, a meeting of Yorkshire and Humber Councillors at Leeds Civic Hall on 25th February 2018 to explain the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism and the procurement laws that prohibit council boycott resolutions. The meeting has been organised by the Board of Deputies of British Jews to suggest ways in which local government can help address antisemitism.
I was invited by The Herzl Institute for the Study of Zionism together with the Comper Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Antisemitism and Racism at the University of Haifa to be the opening speaker and to participate in a one-day workshop on 18th December 2017 titled, 'Public Diplomacy in the BDS Age'. My paper was titled, 'The Legal Implications of BDS and Strategies to Counter It: A European Perspective'.
I was invited by the World Zionist Organisation to participate at its annual conference in London, 20th - 22nd October, 2017, on a panel titled 'Legal Voices on Antisemitism' along with Baroness Ruth Deech, QC, and Jonathan Turner, Q.C. I gave a paper which analysed the use of the law to address campus antisemitism.
I have contracted with the editor of the European Journal of Current Legal Issues at Lancaster University to publish a Special Issue on Contemporary Antisemitism in the Media, which I shall special edit.
In January 2017 I contributed to a lexicon of antisemitic terms at the request of the Home Office. This required my signing the Official Secrets Act.
I secured a contract with publishers ‘The European Journal of Contemporary Legal Issues’ to publish the papers presented at the Second-Bristol-Sheffield Hallam Collloquium on Contemporary Antisemitism, ‘Antisemitism in the Media: The Old & The New&rsquo (forthcoming 2018).
I co-presented a paper with Dr Stephen Riley, Leicester University, entitled, ‘Israel, the Media and Disproportionate Force’ at the ‘Second Bristol-Sheffield Hallam Colloquium on Contemporary Antisemitism, ‘Antisemitism in the Media:
The Old & The New,’ 14 September, 2016. This will appear as a chapter in ‘Antisemitism in the Media: The Second Bristol-Sheffield Hallam Colloquium on Contemporary Antisemitism,’ (Berlin: Edition Critic, 2018). The paper is cited in Bernard Harrison’s, ‘Blaming the Jews: The Persistence of Delusion,’ Chapter 8, (Indiana University Press, 2018).
With Dr Jonathan Campbell, I co-organised and co-hosted the ‘Second Bristol-Sheffield Hallam Colloquium on Contemporary Antisemitism, Antisemitism in the Media: The Old & The New’ at Sheffield Hallam University, 13 – 15 September 2016. This was an international multi-disciplinary conference.
With Dr Jonathan Campbell, I secured a book contract with Academic Studies Press to publish the papers given at the ‘First Bristol-Sheffield Hallam Colloquium on Contemporary Antisemitism’. The book is called ‘Unity and Diversity in Contemporary Antisemitism: The Bristol-Sheffield Hallam Colloquium on Contemporary Antisemitism’ (forthcoming 2017). I am co-editing the book with Dr Jonathan Campbell.
With Dr Jonathan Campbell, I co-organised and co-hosted the ‘First Bristol-Sheffield Hallam Colloquium on Contemporary Antisemitism’ at Bristol University, 15 – 18 September, 2015. This was an international multi-disciplinary conference.
On 10 November, 2015, I gave a paper at an event held in London organised by CAMERA and BBC Watch to discuss the BBC’s biased coverage of Israel. The purpose of the event was to consider to what extent the BBC’s coverage of Israel complies with its legal obligations to treat news and matters of public policy and political controversy with due accuracy and impartiality; and to what extent biased reporting in relation to Israel promotes and leads to antisemitism and radicalisation. This event was held in recognition of the fact that the BBC’s Charter was due to expire at the end of 2016 and the Government was engaged in a consultation process about the future of the BBC. I spoke before an audience of 540 members of the public on a panel with Professor Richard Landes, Dr Denis MacEoin, Jonathan Turner, Q.C., and Hadar Sela. The title of my paper was ‘Does Media Coverage of Israel Affect Attitudes to British Jews?’ My presentation can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=od¬_i1nGOA2o
My presentation was written about and I was quoted by journalist Naomi Firsht in The Jewish Chronicle newspaper on 11th November, 2015, See, Naomi Firsht, “The BBC could be perceived as ‘institutionally antisemitic’ says leading academic”, The Jewish Chronicle, 11 November, 2015, www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/bbc-could-be-perceived—as-institutionally-antisemitic-says-leading-academic-1.62193/
I was a panel participant in the Battle of Ideas festival satellite event, “A ‘rumble’ on religion: from Enlightenment tolerance to 21st Century offence” at the Hallmark Hotel, Derby, on 29th September, 2015.
I was a panel participant at the Battle of Ideas festival discussing “After Gaza: The Rise of Antisemitism?” held at the Barbican on 19th October, 2014. The panel was chaired by Claire Fox of the Institute of Ideas. Also on the panel were David Mellor MP, journalist Hugo Rifkind, and social commentator Professor Frank Furedi.
I appeared on the Eurosport Channel in January 2014 discussing footballer Niclas Anelka’s use of the antisemitic quenelle gesture and I appeared in the documentary, ‘Whitewashed: Antisemitism in the Labour Party’, launched in June 2017, discussing antisemitism in the Labour Party and the Chakrabarti Report. I have been interviewed for, quoted in, and had my work written about in The Jewish Chronicle (antisemitism in the BBC), Tower Magazine (campus antisemitism), Algemeiner (Jewish voting patterns in the General Election, 2017), JForum (France) (campus antisemitism), Audiatur online (Germany) (campus antisemitism), Arutz Sheva, Israel National News (campus antisemitism) and the Tundra Tabloids. I have also written for The Conversation, on left antisemitism and the select committee’s 2016 report on antisemitism in the UK, and The Jerusalem Post (campus antisemitism.)