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Oxford University Labour Club attacks Corbyn’s response to antisemitism as ‘inadequate’

Labour club admits trying to "learn from mistakes" of past on antisemitism

    The Oxford University Labour Club – which was embroiled in an antisemitism scandal in 2016 – has said Jeremy Corbyn’s response to the Jew-hatred crisis engulfing the party has been “inadequate”, and claiming: “Our club has tried to learn from its mistakes”.

    In a statement, the OULC welcomed the apology issued by Mr Corbyn this week regarding the “pain” caused by “pockets of antisemitism” in the party. But the club stressed the responsed was not sufficient response to allay the concerns raised by Jewish Labour members.

    The club urged Mr Corbyn “to reflect thoroughly upon his own actions as well as to apologise for the party’s consistently inadequate response to internal antisemitism.

    “We recognise that we all need to do more to raise our awareness of antisemitism, malicious or subconscious, and press the Labour leadership to take stronger action to tackle it within the party.

    “If we fail to respond robustly to hatred and bigotry we betray our fundamental Labour values of solidarity, tolerance, and respect. It must never be forgotten that Jewish people are, and always have been, an integral part of the Labour movement.

    “Our club has tried to learn from its mistakes and so must our party. “

    Allegations of antisemitism within OULC emerged in 2016  after some of it members were revealed to have discussed Zionists rigging British elections, frequently used the term "Zio" and suggested that European attacks on Jews were justified because of Gaza.

    The allegations led to the Labour Party's national student organisation conducting an inquiry, led by Baroness Royall, which was leaked to the press in the summer of 2016.

    Baroness Royall concluded that there had been some incidents of antisemitic behaviour and that " language that would once have been intolerable is now tolerated" in the club.

    Just under a year later, two students were cleared by the Labour NEC's disputes committee of being antisemitic – but it was recommended  that the party issue warnings to both over their conduct.

    The recommendation, however, was ignored, provoking a furious response from Jewish organisations, with the Union of Jewish Students branding the decision “disgraceful”.

    Baroness Royall concluded this risked “confirming a widely held view that we don’t take antisemitism seriously”.

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