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Is anti-semitism a problem at Oxford & other universities?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by FrankWolley, Feb 18, 2016.

  1. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    This article seems to show it is:


    More allegations came to light on 17 February, after disaffected OULC members passed details of incidents to the Oxford JSoc.

    They include a claim that former committee members sung a song ‘Rockets over Tel Aviv’ and expressed their support for attacks against Israel by Hamas.

    One club member was “formally disciplined by their college for organising a group of students to allegedly harass a Jewish student and to shout ‘filthy Zionist’ whenever they saw her,” according to a statement by Oxford JSoc.

    And an OULC member “argued that Hamas was justified in its policy of killing Jewish civilians and claimed that all Jews were legitimate targets.”
  2. silvaran

    silvaran Occasional commenter

    Its quite right that anyone who harasses someone because of their race or religion should be disciplined. But OULC has a reputation for radical, passionate and generally respectful debate.
    A far left, far right or militant islamist supporting member may argue that Hamas is justified in its policy of killing Jews even those unconnected with the Israel-Palestinian conflict, but there will be many other members who will be able to challenge that easily and point out that Hamas is a genocidal organization that murders not only Jews but Palestinian gays, peace activitists, trade unionists, journalists, socialists, nationalists and feminists or anyone else that stands for freedom of speech and expression.
  3. George_Randle

    George_Randle Senior commenter

  4. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

  5. Didactylos4

    Didactylos4 Star commenter

    Do behave Frank :D
    There have been elements of the hard left in oxford labour groups for as long as I have been old enough to know of their existence and they have been squabbling amongst themselves for control during all of that time.

    As for the accusations of anti-Semitic behaviour there clearly are some examples in the collection listed and some clearly (if narrowly) aren't.
    Attacks on Zionism aren't necessarily anti-Semitic, neither are complaints about Israel and its policies but they are all too often claimed to be even if the wording is quite clear.

    Some of the quoted examples disgust me but I note Silvaran's post (#2 above) and largely agree
  6. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I've always regarded Oxford as a pretty second rate place, to be honest*.

    But reading: One club member was “formally disciplined by their college for organising a group of students to allegedly harass a Jewish student and to shout ‘filthy Zionist’ whenever they saw her,” according to a statement by Oxford JSoc.

    I was pretty surprised that even Oxford students would sink that low... No real difference to shouting 'P*ki' at an Asian student, as far as I can see, or 'n!gger' at a Black one.

    *FW, MA (Cantab.) ;)
  7. George_Randle

    George_Randle Senior commenter

    silvaran and lanokia like this.
  8. Didactylos4

    Didactylos4 Star commenter

    Couldn't agree with that statement more George
  9. silvaran

    silvaran Occasional commenter

    Disappointingly it was 'anti Israeli apartheid week' (note: not 'Support the Palestinian struggle' week) in the UK last week and this far left/radical islamist love fest continues across hundreds of university campuses world wide during March.
    There is significant discrimination and a democratic deficit in Israel. However, calling for boycotts and sanctions and labeling Israel as 'apartheid' as was malevolent South Africa in the later part of the 20th century is irresponsible, unjustifiable and just serves to further deligitimize the state of Israel and to demonize its people.
    George_Randle and FritzGrade like this.
  10. George_Randle

    George_Randle Senior commenter

  11. George_Randle

    George_Randle Senior commenter

  12. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    Try reading some of socialist worker stuff.....they hare happy to take up any banner if it gets them noticed.
    Despite all the work teachers have tried over the years to get children to work together in the end you cant stop indoctrination of those who wish to be convinced.
    Our world is composed of humans who love to fight and argue and take sides......it happens from the earliest age.Even more so if you have parents who develop in children lack of respect for another and chose hatred and prejudice instead.
    So in any institution there will be those who peddle such views.....problem is they are not dealt with severely enough.Even worse their views are not kicked back resolutely
    If you come from places where wrongs seem to be done against your 'people' you can not easily forgive your enemies.It take a lot of courage to be different, to the anger and hate that flows..... to forgive.
  13. bonkers 704

    bonkers 704 Lead commenter

    Anti-Semitism. No. Never. Completely unacceptable. As someone who has taught the Holocaust for nearly thirty years and have been to many of the places like Auschwitz and Mauthausen where I could see for myself the terrible consequences of such attitudes, anti-Semitism must always been confronted, challenged and refuted.
    However, I have also taught the Arab-Israeli Conflict for decades, and I have learned the distinction between Anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, a distinction the State of Israel is keen to blur. Zionism is an imperialist ideology from the 19th century, which had the dispossession of hundreds of thousands of people from their land and their replacement at its heart. Many Zionists regard Israel as an unfinished project, in that Greater Israel has yet to be achieved and won't be till "Judaea and Samaria" are incorporated into the Israeli state. What's stopping them is the ticklish problem of what to do with millions of Palestinians. Giving them Israeli citizenship is apparently not an option worth considering.
  14. silvaran

    silvaran Occasional commenter

    For someone who teaches about the conflict, I'm concerned that you find labeling Zionism so easily as 'imperialist ideology'.
    Zionism is and was many things, cultural, territorial, religious, secular, socialist, nationalist. It is full of contradictions.
    The imperialist label is just one of those contradictions....From the first congress, Zionism was opposed by every imperial power and by big business.
    Imperialism and colonialism is about exploitng others. Founding Zionism was mostly idealistic, Urban European Jews had a desire for self enlightenment and freedom and were prepared to give up their city lives and become pioneering farmers.
  15. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

  16. Didactylos4

    Didactylos4 Star commenter

    It's not just a problem in the Labour Party though I agree that they (we in fact) need to sort it out asap.
    And it is something that needs more open leadership from above as well as at the grassroots level.
    Sadly however often the root of theses poisonous weeds are pulled out others will grow again.
  17. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    The trouble is that if you are the leader folks look up to your for an example....so what you say ,do and are gives off a message.If the leader is not robust i declaring some actions as wrong or unworthy or even stronger it gives the rest the right to follow...like children who tell you they did it because some one else did.
    Adults are often the worst example to their children and politicians to those they serve.
  18. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Another interesting article:


    Here is the second half:

    As one of the finest liberal ambitions is to find the sympathy to imagine the lives of others, you should become a Jew too. Declare that you have converted toJudaism or rediscovered your Jewish “heritage” and see the reaction. It’s not just that, if you are middle class and fortunate, you might experience racism for the first time, which in itself would be a “learning experience” worth having. You might also learn the essential lesson that antisemitism is not about Jews. Like rape, it’s about power.

    Whether the antisemitic conspiracy theory is deployed by German Nazis or Arab dictators, French anti-Dreyfusards or Saudi clerics, the argument is always the same. Democracy, an independent judiciary, equal human rights, freedom of speech and publication – all these “supposed” freedoms – are nothing but swindles that hide the machinations of the secret Jewish rulers of the world.

    Describe the fantasy the Tsarist and Nazi empires developed that bluntly and it is impossible to understand how the Labour party is in danger of becoming as tainted as Ukip by the racists it attracts.

    But consider how many leftwing activists, institutions or academics would agree with a politer version.

    Western governments are the main source of the ills of the world. The “Israel lobby” controls western foreign policy. Israel itself is the “root cause” of all the terrors of the Middle East, from the Iraq war to Islamic State. Polite racism turns the Jews, once again, into demons with the supernatural power to manipulate and destroy nations. Or as the Swedish foreign minister, Margot Wallström, who sees herself as a feminist rather than a racial conspiracist, explained recently, Islamist attacks in Paris were the fault of Israeli occupiers in the West Bank.

    Or consider the otherwise bizarre indulgence of ultra-right religious extremists by people who otherwise describe themselves as liberals and leftists. The belief that Jews fuel radical Islam allows them to overlook superstition and the tyrannical denial of equal rights. They’re against Israel and that’s all that matters.

    I could describe at vitriolic length how disgusted leftwing Jewish friends are that Labour members chose Jeremy Corbyn, despite his support for an Anglican cleric who linked to extremist sites that blamed Jews for 9/11, and his defence of an Islamist who recycled the libel that Jews dined on the blood of Christian children from the bottom of a medieval dung heap.

    But even if a chastened Labour expels this or that antisemite or disciplines the Jew-baiters at the Oxford University Labour club, I do not see how its leaders can challenge the conspiratorial world-view they shared for decades. They would be renouncing everything they once believed in.

    As someone who warned in the 00s about the growing darkness on the left, I am pessimistic about the chances of change. If you keep shouting “fire” and the fire brigade never comes, you tend to assume the house will burn to the ground. But perhaps familiarity breeds contempt and I am not the best judge.

    If Labour MPs and members want the party to break with a past that has led to leftists allying with religious reactionaries who deny universal human rights and hate every value the centre-left professes to hold, they will have to learn to treat all racisms equally.

    They will need to make a brief acquaintance with European history and understand that the left has no guaranteed immunity from fascistic ideology. They will have to see antisemitism for what it is and understand why it always leads to despotism and despair. Like me, in short, and if only briefly, they will have to become Jews themselves.
  19. George_Randle

    George_Randle Senior commenter

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