British Government Regulator Called on to Investigate London University’s Student Union for ‘Falsely’ Testifying That Lecture Equating Zionism, Nazism Contained No Antisemitism
A British watchdog group is calling on a governmental body to re-open an investigation into a London University student organization for falsely testifying that a lecture which included blatantly inflammatory rhetoric against Jews and Israel did not contain antisemitic content.
Speaking to The Algemeiner on Tuesday, a spokesman for Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) said the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) Students’ Union lied when it told investigators that a talk delivered last month by author Thomas Suarez did not include anti-Jewish statements. This despite the fact that Suarez accused “Zionists” of “conspir[ing] to try and increase antisemitism in order to force Jews to Palestine.”
The initial investigation was carried out by the UK’s Charity Commission — the body charged with monitoring and regulating charities in Britain, among them the SOAS Students’ Union — following complaints it received about the content of Suarez’s lecture, which the CAA said is in direct violation of the law governing charities.
In its own defense during the investigation, the SOAS Students’ Union responded in writing to the Charity Commission, claiming that the lecture in question should be considered “an appropriate meeting for the [sponsor and host, SOAS’s] Palestine Society to run in the way it was run,” and that the Union does “not believe that there was any antisemitism.”
In response, the CAA lodged its official complaint with the Charity Commission. In its submission, the watchdog accused the union and Palestine Society for failing to challenge, stop or retroactively acknowledge Suarez’s anti-Jewish rhetoric.
According to the complaint — which follows a separate one filed with the SOAS director — Suarez’s comments:
…[E]ngage the International Definition of Antisemitism by alleging that:
- Zionists are mobilizing subversive power to “outlaw” criticism of their activities
- The creation of Israel was a “racist,” “fascist” endeavor
- The actions of Zionists and Israel are comparable to those of Nazi Germany
- Zionists historically radicalized Jewish children and engineered increases in antisemitism…
“It is clear,” stated the CAA in the letter, “that this lecture was antisemitic, contrary to the information contained in the letter sent to you by SOAS Students’ Union. In addition to being antisemitic, the event was not keeping with SOAS Students’ Union’s charitable objects, which oblige it to engage in ‘promoting the interests and welfare of students at SOAS.’”
It continued: “Jewish students are currently feeling threatened and isolated, not only at SOAS but at universities around the country. SOAS Students’ Union has worsened this sad situation by its negligent failure to properly scrutinize, supervise and stop this event.”
The CAA spokesman told The Algemeiner that, in addition to calling for an inquiry, it is also demanding that the Charity Commission “censure” the SOAS Students’ Union and require it not only to adopt the international definition of antisemitism, but to “use it in the future to determine whether speakers should be permitted to address students, and whether any particular event has crossed the line into antisemitism.”
Both Suarez’s lecture and the administration’s response to it, the spokesman said, are further examples of the university’s long history of turning a blind eye to Jew-hatred, lending the institution the nickname the “School of Antisemitism.”
In October, leading British Jewish organizations “utterly condemned” the university and its Palestine Society chapter for holding an event that sought to “draw the line between combating the weaponization of antisemitism and identifying real instances of antisemitism.”
In June, as The Algemeiner reported, Jewish students at SOAS were identified as a persecuted minority at the school, being “intimidated into self-censorship” and “bludgeoned into the acceptance of Islamo-Marxist political orthodoxy.”
Following a meeting between Israeli Ambassador to the UK Mark Regev and SOAS Director Valerie Amos in April, anti-Israel graffiti appeared on campus. The graffiti included the slogan, “F*** Regev, Amos and Israel. BDS or else!”
SOAS representatives did not immediately respond to The Algemeiner’s request for comment.