Oxford University’s Students Union has called on national student leader Malia Bouattia to resign if she will not issue a “full and formal apology” to Jewish students offended by her past statements.
In the stunning rebuke to students’ national representatives, the esteemed union also criticised Oxford dons for a lack of action in response to allegations of anti-Semitism from within the University’s own Labour Club (OULC).
Pressure had mounted at the establishment after criticism from politicians in the Home Affairs Select Committee and from education chiefs at Universities UK, following an inquiry carried out by Baroness Royall.
The peer looked into allegations of anti-Semitism in the Oxford University Labour Club shortly after it voted to support a campaign to boycott Israel, when a co-chair resigned, alleging the Club had “some kind of problem with Jews”. Her full report was withheld, however, prompting accusations of a cover-up by the Labour party.
In the statement this week, Oxford University Students’ Union (OUSU) said: “We cannot ignore or dismiss the hurt and anger caused by statements made by Malia Bouattia. We echo calls from Jewish students for a full and formal apology for her language and comments, condemn the lack of apology thus far, and agree that if no apology is made, the appropriate course of action would be resignation.
Siding with Jewish students on the debate about who defines anti-Semitism, he union added: “We believe that it should be Jewish students who decide what constitutes anti-Semitism, as we hold other liberation groups as being experts on other forms of racism.”
Closer to home, the union noted “the allegations of anti-Semitism within OULC, and the disappointment felt over the inadequate response from the University,” adding that discussions were ongoing between OULC and the Jewish Society.
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