TEL AVIV – There have been “clear incidents of anti-Semitism” at the Oxford University Labour Club, a leaked investigative report revealed, but said the phenomenon did not extend to “institutional anti-Semitism.”
Some of the anti-Jewish behavior made Jewish members feel “intimidated” and “insecure.”
Authored by former leader of the House of Lords Baroness Janet Royall, the leaked report obtained by UK weekly the Jewish Chronicle contains “300 pages of evidence from over 40 members of OULC.”
Despite the many incidences of anti-Semitism, Royall wrote, “I do not believe that there is institutional anti-Semitism within OULC. Difficulties, however, face OULC which must be addressed to ensure a safe space for all Labour students to debate and campaign around the great ideas of our movement.”
The Labour party’s ruling National Executive Committee suppressed its findings until now and only published the report’s 11 recommendations.
Royall rejected the notion that “being anti-Zionist cannot be anti-Semitic. Yes it can and, unfortunately, it is often used deliberately as a tool of anti-Semitism,” the report said.
However, Royall was ambivalent about whether all the cases were deliberate and whether the trend was systemic. As a result, she saw no benefit in pursuing disciplinary cases against students “who may be better advised as to their conduct and who would benefit from training on these issues.”
The investigation stemmed from the resignation in February of Alex Chalmers, the society’s co-chairman, over its support of Israel Apartheid Week. He said at the time that “a large proportion of both OULC and the student Left in Oxford more generally have some kind of problem with Jews.”
Chalmers further accused members of the Labour club’s executive committee of “throwing around the term ‘Zio’ [a term for Jews usually confined to websites run by the Ku Klux Klan] with casual abandon.” He expounded on “senior members of the club expressing their ‘solidarity’ with Hamas and explicitly defending their tactics of indiscriminately murdering civilians.” He also quoted a former co-chairperson of the club as saying, “Most accusations of anti-Semitism are just the Zionists crying wolf.”
While Royall acknowledged Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s attempts to stamp out rampant anti-Semitism in the party, she said Jews no longer feel secure.
“Sadly however, there is now a feeling amongst part of the Jewish community that they do not feel welcome in our Party.
“There is too often a real, sometimes perceived, culture of intolerance where Jews are concerned and there are clear incidents of anti-Semitism,” she said.