The Labour Party has dropped its inquiry into anti-Semitism within its Oxford University branch, causing dismay among Jewish groups.
Labour’s National Executive Committee ruled on Tuesday that the eleven-month long investigation brought against two students should be terminated, and the students cleared without facing any disciplinary action, The Jerusalem Post has reported.
Students at the Oxford University Labour Club (OULC) had testified that the students had used the derogatory term “zios” to describe Jews, and called Auschwitz a “cash cow”. Jews were asked to renounce Israel publicly before being allowed to speak at meetings, while the Jewish victims of terrorism at a Jewish supermarket in Paris were mocked. They further alleged that attacks against Jews in Europe were justified on the basis of the conflict between Israel and Palestine.
A spokesman for the Campaign Against Antisemitism said that by dismissing the allegations, the Labour Party was effectively calling the witnesses liars, and in doing so had shown itself “not safe for Jews”.
They explained: “[…] there is only one, single, clear message running through everything Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party has to say about our community: Jewish complaints are empty lies.
“In 2017, lamentably and astonishingly, Her Majesty’s Opposition is resurrecting an ancient antisemitic charge against Jews: of dissembling. Jewish politicians, Jewish journalists and now Jewish students’ complaints are all similarly charged as being maliciously motivated. In this, the Labour Party has been guilty of what the International Definition of Antisemitism calls ’employing sinister stereotypes’ and invoking ‘… mendacious …demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews’.
“The Labour Party itself is now in breach of the International Definition of Antisemitism. By the standard set by that definition, the Labour party is antisemitic and not safe for Jews; we further publicly call it out for lying in publicly saying it accepted the definition.”
Joe Glasman, Head of Political Investigations and Liaison at Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “The Labour Party’s decision to drop this investigation calls the witnesses liars or simply says that the anti-Semitism they experienced does not matter.
“It is no longer possible, in our view, to save the Labour Party from its own racism, but it is necessary to defend the Jewish community against what is becoming a waking nightmare.”
The Union of Jewish Students has also slammed the dropping of the investigation as “disgraceful”, saying: “The party had an opportunity to put its values into practice, to demonstrate how seriously they take the issue of antisemitism and to show that Labour clubs are welcome spaces for Jewish students, but they have failed miserably.”
“They have let Jewish students down and in doing so, they have created an atmosphere in which antisemitism may thrive without fear of being challenged.
“The alleged antisemitic incidents that took place at OULC [the Oxford University Labour Club] should not be seen in isolation,” it added. “They were, and at times still are, part of a culture which the University of Oxford, Oxford University Students’ Union (OUSU), and now the Labour Party, have failed to grasp.”
In August, a report into anti-Semitism at OULC by Labour peer Baroness Janet Anne Royall found no anti-Semitism within the club, even while acknowledging that anti-Semitic incidents had taken place.
After sifting through more than 300 pages of evidence from eight students, Royall said she was “deeply disappointed by the outcome and fear it will further harm relations between the Jewish community and our party by confirming a widely held view that we do not take antisemitism seriously”.