Oxford Labour Club Has Problematic Culture Regarding anti-Semitism, Report Says

However, the club isn't 'institutionally' anti-Semitic Baroness Royall, says the opposition leader in the House of Lords, who wrote report obtained by Jewish Chronicle.

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Baroness Royall, second left, in London, April 6, 2010.
Baroness Royall, second left, in London, April 6, 2010.Credit: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

The Oxford University Labour Club has a problematic culture that tolerates anti-Semitism, according to a report by the Labour opposition leader in the House of Lords that was obtained by the Jewish Chronicle.

However, there is no evidence that the club itself is "institutionally" anti-Semitic, wrote Baroness Royall, who had been commissioned to conduct an investigation into allegations of anti-Semitism within the club and authored the report.

"There appears to be cultural problem in which behaviour and language that would once have been intolerable is now tolerated," she wrote, according to the document provided online by the JC. "Some Jewish members do not feel comfortable attending the meetings, let alone participating."

Baroness Royall acknowledged that evidence supports complaints of anti-Semitism, but qualifies its severity and rather focused on recommendations that could be taken to eliminate this problem.

"It is clear to me from the weight of witnessed allegations received that there have been some incidents of antisemitic behaviour and that it is appropriate for the disciplinary procedures of our Party to be invoked," she wrote. "However, it is not clear to me to what extent this behaviour constituted intentional or deliberate acts of antisemitism. This is particularly true of historic hearsay evidence."

She also noted that the bulk of the anti-Semitic behavior has transpired outside club activities. "That may limit the scope of the Club to take action, but as far as our Party is concerned antisemitism should not be acceptable behaviour at any time in any circumstance – whether it is related to Labour Club activities or not," she stressed.

Her recommendations included joint training between Labour students and members of the Jewish Labour Movement for all Labour Club officers in dealing with anti-Semitism; creating a "clear line of reporting" for anti-Semitic incidents; implementing proper procedures for investigating complaints of anti-Semitism; and imposing no statute of limitation on anti-Semitic incidents.

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