Baroness Jan Royall has issued her full report into allegations of anti-Semitism in the Oxford University Labour Club, acknowledging the “great disappointment” of the Jewish community.
The peer, who was asked to investigate after the Club’s co-chair resigned in February claiming members had “some kind of problem with Jews,” found that there were “incidents of anti-Semitism”.
In May, the Labour Party published her executive summary only, but further details were revealed this week, with the full publication, in which she questions whether students’ remarks were intentionally racist.
“It is clear to me from the weight of witnessed allegations received that there have been some incidents of anti-Semitic behaviour and that it is appropriate for the disciplinary procedures of our Party to be invoked,” she writes.
“However it is not clear to me to what extent this behaviour constituted intentional or deliberate acts of anti-Semitism. This is particularly true of historic hearsay evidence.”
She suggested an educational, rather than a punitive approach, to past incidents, saying: “I see no value in pursuing disciplinary cases against students who may be better advised as to their conduct.”
It comes after Alex Chalmers, the Club’s co-chair, resigned in February, accusing members of supporting Hamas, casually using the derogatory term “Zio” and of accusing Jews of “crying wolf,” on the day the Club voted to endorse Israel Apartheid Week.
Royall reiterated that there is “no evidence that the Club is itself institutionally anti-Semitic” but acknowledged a “cultural problem in which behaviour and language that would once have been intolerable is now tolerated”.
She denounced a “lack of systematic reporting” and “the fears of victims in coming forward,” noting that “some Jewish members do not feel comfortable attending the [OULC] meetings, let alone participating.”
However, she said she heard from over 40 Club members and said “much of the evidence I have received about anti-Semitic behaviour relates to their actions outside of the Club activities”.
This week, she said: “It will, I have no doubt, be a great disappointment to the Jewish community for which I have a very high regard.
“However, as it was adopted by the [Labour Party] National Executive Committee, we should be able to ensure that each and every one of the recommendations is implemented and, in doing so, we should be able to bring about the necessary change in culture.”
The Labour Students group conducted its own investigation into Chalmers’ allegations and forwarded the findings to the Labour Party, at which point Royall was asked to conduct a further probe.
Many thought Royall’s full report would be incorporated into Shami Chakrabarti’s more wide-ranging inquiry into anti-Semitism in the party, but in the event, it was omitted.
Source: Jewish News