OULC slam Labour’s ‘consistently inadequate’ responses to anti-semitism
(This article was originally published at https://cherwell.org/2018/03/28/oulc-slam-labours-consistently-inadequate-responses-to-anti-semitism/ in March 2018)
The Oxford University Labour Club (OULC) have labelled Jeremy Corbyn’s apology regarding allegations of anti-semitism as insufficient, adding to the growing number of voices pushing for a stronger response from the Labour leader.
Corbyn’s statement, issued earlier this week, followed accusations made against both the Labour Party and Corbyn himself by the Jewish Leadership Council.
Corbyn claimed that he “will never be anything other than a militant opponent of anti-Semitism,” yet also criticised what he called “the continuing dispossession of the Palestinian people.”
While OULC “welcomed” Corbyn’s apology, they stressed that they did not view it to be “a sufficient response.”
The statement, written by the club co-chairs Ray Williams and Anisha Faruk, calls on him to “reflect thoroughly on his own actions as well as to apologise for the party’s consistently inadequate response to internal antisemitism.”
“We recognise that we all need to more to raise our awareness against antisemitism, malicious or subconscious, and press the Labour leadership to take stronger action to tackle it within the party.
“If we fail to respond robustly to hatred and bigotry we betray our fundamental Labour values of solidarity, tolerance and respect.
“It must never be forgotten that Jewish people are, and always have been, an integral part of the Labour movement”
The statement also made reference to OULC’s past issues with anti-semitism, stating that: “Our club has tried to learn from its mistakes and so must our party. We will continue to do all that we can to make sure that the Club remains a friendly and safe environment.”
Former OULC co-chair, Alex Chalmers, resigned in 2016 in response to a considerable number of members having what he described as “some sort of problem with Jews”.
He said that this was shown through their endorsement of Israeli Apartheid Week, use of anti-semitic language, and expressions of sympathy with Hamas and other anti-semitic terrorist groups.
This led to an investigation into alleged anti-Jewish sentiments in the club. The report concluded that while the club does not appear to be “institutionally anti-Semitic, behaviour and language that would once have been intolerable is now tolerated.”
In response to OULC’s statement, Oxford University Jewish Society (JSoc) president, Jacob Greenhouse, told Cherwell: “JSoc are very impressed with the OULC statement and are happy to see that OULC are committed to working with us and with the Labour movement to help confront antisemitism.”