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Investigation launched into anti-Semitism at Oxford University

Israeli Embassy in London slams 'anti-Semitism masquerading as politics,' as Labour Party backs official probe into leftist anti-Semitism.

Ari Soffer,

Oxford University (file)
Oxford University (file)

The Israeli Embassy in London has issued a scathing condemnation of reports of rampant anti-Semitism within a left-wing student society in Oxford University, as Britain's Labour Party says it backs an official inquiry.

It comes after the head of Oxford University Labour Club (OULC) resigned when the Club endorsed Israel Apartheid Week, saying he had come to realize that "OULC and the student left in Oxford more generally have some kind of problem with Jews." Shortly after, Oxford's Jewish Society released testimony from a number of Jewish students recounting disturbing levels of anti-Semitism they themselves had witnessed or been subjected to.

On Wednesday, the Israeli Embassy's Charge d'Affaires Eitan Na'eh issued a statement slamming what he branded "antisemitism masquerading as politics."

"The Embassy of Israel is appalled by reports of antisemitism, intimidation of Jewish students, and support for terrorism against Israel at the Oxford Labour Club," the statement read. "We would not expect such disgraceful activity from any morally upright person - let alone students at one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

"Antisemitism masquerading as politics is abhorrent. It must be recognized as such and condemned by all."

For its part, OULC says it is "deeply disturbed" by the allegations, and launched an official investigation Wednesday.

"We unequivocally condemn any form of anti-semitism," OULC said in a statement.

"We are taking these allegations very seriously and will do whatever is necessary to ensure every Labour club is a safe space for Jewish students."

Officials within the Labour Party have also taken the issue up, specifically MP John Mann, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism.

Mann wrote directly to party leader Jeremy Corbyn urging him to mount an official inquiry into the allegations of anti-Semitism in a Labour Party-aligned club.

"I have always made clear that MPs must directly address accusations of antisemitism from within their own party ranks," Mann wrote, according to the Jewish Chronicle.

"Antisemitism in the Labour Party must not go unchallenged. If these allegations have merit, the perpetrators must be found and routed out of our party.

"I am writing to ask for a full investigation by the Labour Party. A statement of solidarity with Jewish students at this time would also be welcome."

In response, a spokesman for the Labour Party said it would fully back any such probe.

"The Labour Party condemns antisemitism in any form. Following recent allegations of antisemitic behaviour and intimidation at Oxford University Labour Club, Labour Students have launched an immediate investigation and the Labour Party welcomes and supports this action.

"If complaints are made about any individual member of the Labour Party, the party will take robust action to deal with any antisemitic behaviour."