BDS supporters (illustration)
BDS supporters (illustration) Reuters

Alex Chalmers, the Co-Chair of the Oxford Labor Club resigned over the left-wing club's decision to endorse "Israel Apartheid Week". Stating that there are many club members on the left who "have a problem with Jews", Chalmers has a hard time stomaching the rising anti-Semitism which he sees on campus. 

In a Facebook post explaining his resignation Chalmers wrote the following: 

"It is with the greatest regret that I have decided to resign as Co-Chair of the Oxford University Labour Club (OULC). This comes in the light of OULC's decision at this evening's general meeting to endorse Israel Apartheid Week."

Chalmers notes that the reason he ran for the position was to try to save the club from fragmenting into factions and adopting radical policies, in essence to save it from itself, a mission that he did not succeed at accomplishing. "I originally ran for the position of Co-Chair back in Trinity, after our crushing defeat at the general election, because I was increasingly worried about the state of OULC," Chalmers wrote.

"The club I had invested an extraordinary amount of time, energy, and emotion in during my first two terms at Oxford, which had given me a network of close friends, was becoming increasingly riven by factional splits, and despite its avowed commitment to liberation, the attitudes of certain members of the club towards certain disadvantaged groups was becoming poisonous."

Chalmers listed several anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic examples of behavior that were displayed by the club and even by club leadership there were very worrying to him. 

"Whether it be members of the Executive throwing around the term 'Zio' (a term for Jews usually confined to websites run by the Ku Klux Klan) with casual abandon, senior members of the club expressing their 'solidarity' with Hamas and explicitly defending their tactics of indiscriminately murdering civilians, or a former Co-Chair claiming that 'most accusations of antisemitism are just the Zionists crying wolf’, a large proportion of both OULC and the student left in Oxford more generally have some kind of problem with Jews. The decision of the club to endorse a movement with a history of targeting and harassing Jewish students and inviting antisemitic speakers to campuses, despite the concerns of Jewish students, illustrates how uneven and insincere much of the active membership is when it comes to liberation."

Chalmers says that he tried to adopt a policy against intolerance for the entire club, including its Jewish students, but his efforts were to no avail.

"I had hoped during my tenure as Co-Chair to move the club away from some of its more intolerant tendencies: sadly, it only continued to move away from me, to a place I could no longer hope to retrieve it from."  

Chalmers went on further to say that in spite of working with some great people he could no longer support the club and the decision it makes. "I am now in a position where I can no longer in good conscience defend club policy, but I do not regret my time in OULC. I'm proud of the work I did."  

The U.K. student scene has been a hotbed of boycott attempts and anti-Israel sentiment for sometime. While supporters of Chalmers reached out to him via comments on his post, the groundswell of support has not been able to stem the tide of decisions by the OULC and other student groups like them to castigate Israel as an aggressive and hateful entity even when faced with contrary factual evidence. 

Chalmers stand and his message were not in vain however as many students expressed thanks and gratitude that someone was taking a stand against the anti-Semitism that was being expressed.