Allegations of antisemitism spark debate


Following the issue over anti-semitism within the Oxford University Labour Club (OULC), there has been a debate over the rise of anti-semitism at UK universities.

The Labour Party has announced an investigation amid claims by a former OULC co-chair that the problem affects campuses across the country.

There are mounting allegations of anti-Jewish behaviour by senior figures at the club, these accusations range from supporting attacks on Israel to targeting and abusing an individual Jewish student. This has prompted the Labour party’s student wing to investigate the claims.

Both Ed and David Miliband are among the club’s former members. A Labour Party spokeswoman said: “Labour Students have launched an immediate investigation and the Labour Party welcomes and supports this action”.

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband has withdrawn himself from issuing a talk to the OULC he had been due to give this month.

He further added that “it is hugely embarrassing for the Labour Party. This is something Jeremy Corbyn should personally look into”.

According to David Klemperer, a former co-chair of the OULC, “Anti-semitism is a major problem in Britain, with increasing numbers of anti-semitic incidents reported”.

Charlie Hillman, a Jewish firstyear student at St Andrews asserted that “St Andrews is one of the few universities in the UK where I feel I could go through my course and never experience anti-semitism.”

He continued that “though St Andrews doesn’t have the largest Jewish population, I feel like it is a place where I can be Jewish and proud, and not have to worry about such things”.

However this is not the case in other UK universities with both large and small Jewish populations. These populations often find themselves targeted over the actions of Israel, as has been the issue at the OULC.

Mr Hillman maintains that “this is often the case, as anti-semitism gets defended as anti-Zionism. However, more often than not, the actions and targeting is anti-semitic”.

St Andrews Union has a strong Zero Tolerance Policy on harassment. Reforms to specifically encompass and define religious and racial harassment were introduced by the Student Services Council last month.


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