Warwick University rejects complaint by Warwick Jewish and Israel Society against lecturer who said allegations of Labour antisemitism are “very much an Israeli lobby kind of idea”
The University of Warwick has rejected a complaint by the Warwick Jewish and Israel Society (JISoc), against a sociology lecturer who described allegations of antisemitism in the Labour Party as “very much an Israeli lobby kind of idea”.
In a lecture on 11th November 2019, Dr Goldie Osuri posited in a recording obtained by Campaign Against Antisemitism that “the next time they say that the Labour Party is antisemitic, you know there are some people possibly that are possibly antisemitic, but this idea that the Labour Party is antisemitic is very much an Israeli lobby kind of idea, the idea that you want to discredit the Labour Party because there is support for Palestine among some members of the Labour Party.”
Her conspiratorial comments, alluding to supposed outsized Israeli power and interference in British politics, and dismissal of antisemitism in Labour as a smear, left Jewish students outraged.
At the time, in an email to students shown to Campaign Against Antisemitism, Dr Osuri doubled down on her claims, promoting the work of the antisemitism-denial group and sham Jewish representative organisation, Jewish Voice for Labour, as well as bemoaning that she was “saddened” that “none of these issues were raised in the seminars.”
However, the University stood by Dr Osuri earlier this year, finding that her 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.”
In a recent letter to the JISoc President, it is understood that the University’s Provost, Professor Christine Ennew, has now determined that there are “insufficient grounds to progress the complaint”, and therefore no action will be taken against the lecturer. Students have charged the University with having failed to investigate the matter properly and accused the decision-makers of a conflict of interest.
It is understood that they intend to escalate the complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education.
The University of Warwick is also under pressure over its refusal to adopt the International Definition of Antisemitism, a refusal that may well have had a bearing on this case.
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “The University of Warwick’s decision not to take action against a lecturer peddling antisemitic conspiracy theories about the ‘Israel lobby’ being behind the well-documented and indisputable institutional antisemitism in the Labour Party is an abdication of both its academic responsibility and its duties towards its minority students. Sadly, this determination is of a piece with Warwick’s decision not to adopt the International Definition of Antisemitism. Had it done so, it might have recognised Dr Goldie Osuri’s remarks for what they were and taken appropriate action. It is little wonder that the University’s Jewish students are losing confidence in the administration.”
If any students are concerned about antisemitism on campus or need assistance, they can call us on 0330 822 0321, or e-mail [email protected].