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July 6, 2016 12:41 pm

Jewish Oxford Students Slam Labour for ‘Sweeping Issue of Campus Antisemitism Under the Carpet’

avatar by Lea Speyer

A gathering of the Union of Jewish students in Britain. Photo: Facebook.

A gathering of the Union of Jewish students in Britain. Photo: Facebook.

Two leading Jewish student organizations at the University of Oxford slammed Britain’s Labour Party on Tuesday for failing to keep its promise to address allegations of antisemitism in its recently completed inquiry into the matter.

In a joint statement by the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) and Oxford Jewish Society (J-Soc), the two groups said that, following the results of the Chakrabarti Inquiry — named after the controversial head of the investigation, Shami Chakrabarti — “It is evident that the Labour Party have swept the issue of alleged antisemitism within Oxford University Labour Club (OULC) under the carpet.”

As reported by The Algemeiner, Labour launched an investigation in response to the resignation of OULC co-chairman Alex Chalmers in February 2015, after he claimed that a vast number of the group’s members “have some kind of problem with Jews.”

The inquiry into the OULC — led by Labour peer Baroness Janet Royall — did not find evidence of “institutional antisemitism,” but said the club now faces “difficulties” in making Jewish students feel welcome. Royall also issued recommendations for Labour, saying those expelled from the party for antisemitism should not be permanently barred, since “people may change their views.” She called on the party to adopt “a definition of antisemitism” and issue new policies aimed at “swifter action” against claims of antisemitism. Only the executive summary and recommendations of the OULC report were published.

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Labour found itself embroiled in controversy in May, after it was revealed that party officials “suppressed” the findings of the inquiry. Royall said at the time that her findings would be incorporated into Chakrabarti’s larger investigation — but, ultimately, they were not.

“The Chakrabarti report has clearly followed the previous two inquiries in revealing nothing of the alleged antisemitism within OULC despite the in-depth evidence that many Jewish students at Oxford had given to all three inquiries. This is further proof that the Labour Party is unwilling to confront the issue of antisemitism within its own ranks,” UJS and Oxford J-Soc said.

Jewish students at Oxford, the groups contended, “not only feel frustrated, but also let down by a process that, almost five months later, has failed to properly address the issues that they have raised.” All of Labour’s inquiries, they said, “have yet to reassure Jewish students at Oxford that OULC is a welcoming environment for Jewish students.”

“They were told that evidence from Jan Royall’s inquiry would be included in Shami Chakrabarti’s, but last week’s publication showed nothing of the sort,” they said.

UJS and Oxford J-Soc called on Labour to publish the Royall report in its entirety “immediately.”

On Thursday, Labour announced the conclusion of its inquiry, saying that while there is an “occasionally toxic atmosphere” within the party, it is “not overrun by antisemitism, Islamophobia, or other forms of racism.” The investigation made 20 recommendations, but did not approve lifetime bans for party members who engage in antisemitic or racist behavior.

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