Warwick Uni criticised for lack of action against ‘Israeli lobby’ lecturer
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Warwick Uni criticised for lack of action against ‘Israeli lobby’ lecturer

University said remarks made by sociology professor Dr Goldie Osuri was a matter of free speech despite a complaint from Jewish student organisations

University of Warwick, Department of Sociology (Credit: Google Maps Street View)
University of Warwick, Department of Sociology (Credit: Google Maps Street View)

Jewish students at Warwick have criticised their University for saying a lecturer’s link between Labour members’ antisemitism investigations and an “Israeli lobby” was a matter of free speech.

The original comments were made in November last year by Dr Goldie Osuri, an associate professor of sociology, and led to a complaint from the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) and Warwick Jewish and Israel Society (JISoc).

In a recording heard by Jewish News, Osuri says: “So the next time they say that the Labour Party is antisemitic, or you know there are some people possibly that are possibly antisemitic, but the 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.”

UJS and Warwick’s JISoc accused Osuri of antisemitism but a University spokesman said at the time that Osuri felt this was “a misrepresentation” of what she had said.

So the next time they say that the Labour Party is antisemitic, or you know there are some people possibly that are possibly antisemitic, but the 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.

A formal investigation by the head of the department, concluding in January, was labelled “immensely disappointing” and “a shameful abdication of the University’s responsibilities” by Warwick JISoc president Angus Taylor, who also investigators were “biased” and that the University was “set up” to protect antisemitism.

This investigation found that outlined that 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”.

In a letter sent last week, Taylor has told by a senior registrar that the University’s Provost, Professor Christine Ennew, had determined that there were “insufficient grounds to progress the complaint”, the process for which was now exhausted.#

JISoc officer Toby Kunin said: “Goldie Osuri’s suggestion that allegations of anti-Jewish racism in the Labour Party are ‘an Israeli lobby kind of idea’ is a deeply antisemitic trope.

The University’s refusal to investigate this, never mind the clear conflict of interest at Stage Two, adds further insult to injury for Jewish students at Warwick. It is becoming undoubtedly clear that the University is institutionally antisemitic.”

UJS campaigns officer Bradley Langer said the University had “failed to deal with accusations of antisemitism on their campus,” adding: “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.”

He said they planned to escalate the compliant to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education.

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