Second Oxford University Labour Club officer resigns


The Oxford University Labour Club has been dealt another blow after a second officer quit, accusing the club of being discriminatory.

OULC disabilities officer Brahma Mohanty has resigned, claiming the club forced members to “subscribe to a radical ideology of division and isolation”.

This move follows the resignation of vice-chair Alex Chalmer last month, who said the club had a “problem with Jews”.

The club passed a motion earlier this month which limited voting privileges to members who solely support the Labour Party or its aims.

According to a report in The Telegraph, in his resignation letter Mr Mohanty, who was part of the club’s executive committee, wrote: “I took on the roles of BME Officer and indeed the Disabilities Officer role as I am passionate about advocating issues concerning access and diversity and as a lifelong Labour supporter, wanted to ensure OULC was at the forefront of that.

“However I have personally experienced in recent weeks and meetings that this does not appear to be an ethos shared amongst the OULC body in light of the passing of the Israeli Apartheid Week motion and the more recent motion which essentially 'purges' the OULC membership and forces members to subscribe to a radical ideology of division and isolation.

“Simply put, I cannot in good faith carry out my duties in promoting access and engagement with a club that I feel is projecting itself in the complete opposite manner.”

Mr Mohanty said the club had lost credibility and its “image has been severely tarnished in recent weeks and is a meagre shadow of its former glory as an influential political force that counts some of the most prominent British politicians amongst its alumni".

Mr Chalmers resigned last month after the club voted to endorse Israel Apartheid Week - a week of anti-Israel activities. His claims of Jew-hatred within the club were followed by further allegations from other club members.

Labour Students carried out an investigation into the allegations of antisemitism but did not publish the findings. A second investigation is now being led by Labour peer Baroness Janet Royall.

In response to Mr Mohanty's resignation, Board vice-president Marie van der Zyl said: “While we await further details of what is behind the latest resignation at the Oxford University Labour Club, one can't help thinking that Jews are perhaps once again the 'canary in the coalmine'.

"When Jew-hatred goes unchecked, other elements of civilised society soon start to unravel.

“This latest resignation should be the catalyst for serious soul-searching and action against hate, both at the OULC, and more widely in the Labour Party and on the left."

Chief Executive of the Jewish Leadership Council Simon Johnson said: “Antisemitism has no place in politics at any level. Debate and disagreement are the bread and butter of student politics but they must not be a smokescreen behind which prejudice, and division are allowed to flourish. Discrimination and hatred must be given no quarter and we hope that these deeply worrying allegations will be investigated swiftly and thoroughly.”

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