Warwick academic to face no disciplinary action over ‘Israeli lobby’ lecture

Dr Goldie Osuri told students how accusations of antisemitism against Labour were the result of Israeli attempts to infiltrate British politics


The University of Warwick has concluded that a lecturer who taught students that accusations of antisemitism within the Labour Party were pushed by the “Israel lobby” was not being antisemitic.

Lecturer Dr Goldie Osuri made the remarks during a presentation titled ‘Viral and Transnational (Palestine)’ in which she said: “The idea that the Labour Party is antisemitic is very much an Israeli lobby kind of idea.”

She also suggested there was an attempt to “discredit” Labour “because there is support for Palestine among some members.”

Other slides used in the lecture appeared to suggest that Israel had influenced the media outlets including the BBC to construct a narrative conflating all Palestinians with Hamas. 

But in a ruling this week the University of Warwick said comments made in the lecture could be defended on the grounds of “free speech.”

Jewish student groups have labelled the decision “extremely disappointing.”

The Jewish Israeli Society (JISoc) Warwick and Union of Jewish Students (UJS) had responded to the lecture by filing a complaint saying: "There can be no excuse from an academic at such a prestigious university to spread conspiracy theories associated with classic antisemitism ... We are also appalled to hear Dr Osuri share support for acts of violence against civilians perpetrated by terrorist organisations." 

But a formal investigation by the head of the department in January has found that Dr Osuri's comments “opened up the space for dialogue and discussion as would be expected in an academic environment and that the statement made in the lecture holds within the principles and values of tolerance and free speech.”

But Warwick JSoc president Angus Taylor appealed the decision. 

Dr Osuri later told the  student newspaper The Warwick Tab: "My statement in the lecture regarding the claims of rampant antisemitism in the Labour party as an 'Israeli lobby kind of idea' is a reference to Israeli attempts to infiltrate British politics documented by Al Jazeera.

"This 'Israeli lobby kind of idea' is a reference to the attempt to smear any debate or discussion regarding Palestinian self-determination and human rights or criticism of the state of Israel as 'antisemitism'." 

But in a letter sent this week, the University’s Provost, Professor Christine Ennew, wrote that there were “insufficient grounds to progress the complaint,” and that the process for doing so was now exhausted. 

In a statement posted to Facebook, JSoc Warwick wrote: "We're incredibly disappointed to see the University of Warwick failing to support Jewish students yet again. 

"Despite clear evidence of problems in the disciplinary proceedings, the university has decided that they know better than Jewish students and communal leaders on what is antisemitic, and come to a conclusion which does nothing to reduce the worries of Jewish students on campus."

Union of Jewish Students campaign officer Bradley Langer added: “This shows the importance of why all universities need to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism, in order to protect Jewish students on their campus from anti-Jewish racism.”



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