The Left’s little problem with Jews: Oxford University offers a safe space for anti-Semitism
Alex Chalmers has quit as co-chair of Oxford University Labour Club. He resigned over the society’s endorsement of the censorious Israel Apartheid Week (IAW). He says “a large proportion of both OULC and the student Left in Oxford more generally have some kind of problem with Jews.”
Not Israel. Jews. The IAW website’s stated aim is: ‘To educate people about the nature of Israel as an apartheid system and to build Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns.’ Black South Africans who endured Afrikaner National Party rule might sneer. That was apartheid. The Israel-Palestine conflict is a grey zone. To see it in black and white terms is absurd and ignorant, or suggestive of something more sinister – an age old ‘little problem’ with Jews.
What motivates the politics of anti-Zionism today? Zionism was, in large part, created by European anti-Semitism. The Jews needed a place to be. They could not assimilate in Europe and Russia – the pogroms, Dreyfuss and State-sponsored racism had taught them that. The Jewish Question never vanished – it just relocated. Now righteous voices in those same Western nations that persecuted Jews demand – irony of ironies – the barbaric Jew behaves as civilised people should.
Chalmers accuses members of the Labour club’s executive of “throwing around the term ‘Zio’ with casual abandon… senior members of the club expressing their ‘solidarity’ with Hamas and explicitly defending their tactics of indiscriminately murdering civilians.”
Chalmers “says old-fashioned anti-Semites…find debates around Israel and Zionism to be a convenient mechanism for expressing their prejudices.”
Noni Csogor, chairperson of the OULC calls it “horrifying that Jewish students feel unsafe on campuses”, adding that the society’s executive committee would discuss “how to deal with the kinds of statements Alex mentions, and what concrete steps we can take in future to preserve a club that’s been a safe haven for Jewish students in the past.”
Csogor writes on Facebook: “I understand Alex’s position, but am looking forward both to running the events we’ve organized for the rest of the term, and to contributing to an ongoing discussion about the complex intersection of justice for Palestine and the safety of Jewish students… It’s not that everyone on the Left is an old-fashioned anti-Semite, but more that people are prepared to turn a blind eye. It’s very difficult to make people actually pay attention.”
Says Alex Chalmers (transcript via Guido):
“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 explitictly [sic] 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 targetting [sic] 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”
What is it about Israel that upsets the Left so much more than any other country does? Anyone want to guess why it is that to the illiberal BDS campaigners, Israel is uniquely wicked?