Lecturer who cleared colleague of Jew hate linked Zionism with the Nazis

Calls for Warwick University to reopen Virinder Kalra’s investigation into fellow sociologist Goldie Osuri’s comments


A professor at a Russell Group university who found a colleague not guilty of antisemitism made inflammatory comments that linked Zionists to Nazis, the JC can disclose.

The revelation about Virinder Kalra has prompted calls for Warwick University to reopen the probe he conducted into fellow sociologist Goldie Osuri.

That investigation, in 2020, was launched after a lecture in which Dr Osuri said: “The idea that the Labour Party is antisemitic is very much an Israeli lobby kind of idea”.

She suggested this was an organised attempt to weaken Labour “because there is support for Palestine among some members”.

She also showed slides claiming that pressure from Israel had influenced BBC news coverage so that it conveyed a false narrative conflating all Palestinians with Hamas.

After the Jewish Society at Warwick made a complaint, senior lecturer Prof Kalra was appointed to investigate the claims.

He dismissed the allegations in September 2020, ruling that the remarks had merely “opened up the space for dialogue and discussion”.

An appeal by the JSoc to the Provost, Christine Ennew, was rejected. She said there were no grounds to take the matter further.

Now a recording of Prof Kalra speaking at a seminar organised by the Institute for Palestinian Studies in May has emerged. First published on the Harry’s Place blog, it reveals the topic for discussion was supposed links between Zionism and the extreme-right Hindutva movement in India.

In the recording, Prof Kalra said: “It is important to point out that Zionists were the only group that broke the Jewish boycott of the Nazis, that many Nazis called themselves Zionists (since that would accomplish their ideology of cleansing Europe of Jews).”

Claims that Zionists collaborated with Hitler’s regime have long been dismissed by historians. Former London mayor Ken Livingstone was expelled from the Labour Party for repeating such claims.

Prof Kalra claimed there were “many links between the Israeli far-right and neo-fascist white supremacists (united in hatred of Muslims) all over Europe and the West broadly”.

He went on to reject the International Holocaust Remembrance Association (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, claiming that it is “opening a very slippery slope in terms of any criticism of state violence suddenly becomes a criticism of a particular group”. Prof Kalra’s comments have prompted calls for the university to re-investigate the original case.

Former education minister Robert Halfon, Chair of the Commons Select Committee on Education, demanded the higher education minister write to the university’s Provost to ensure that this was done.

A Warwick University Jewish Society spokesperson said: “The dismissal of the complaint is a sign that Jewish students cannot rely on the processes of the university to protect them.”

Former Warwick JSoc president Nathan Broder told the JC: “If the university wants to restore Warwick’s reputation for taking antisemitism seriously it will immediately reopen this case.”

Dave Rich, Director of Policy at the Community Security Trust, said: “This is another case where a Jewish student complaining about alleged antisemitism has been let down by the lack of independence in their university’s complaints process.”

Professor Kalra and Dr Goldie failed to respond to requests for comment.

A Warwick University spokesman told the JC: “We are satisfied that this complaint was reviewed correctly at the time.”

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