Alex Chalmers, Co-Chair of the Oxford University Labour Club, has announced his resignation from that position – because of what he sees as a real problem of Jew hatred among a large proportion of both OULC and the student left in Oxford (hat tip: Yair Rosenberg)
It is with the greatest regret that I have decided to resign as Co-Chair of the Oxford University Labour Club. This comes in the light of OULC’s decision at this evening’s general meeting to endorse Israel Apartheid Week.
I originally ran for the position of Co-Chair back in Trinity, after our crushing defeat at the general election, because I was increasingly worried about the state of OULC. The club I had invested an extraordinary amount of time, energy, and emotion in during my first two terms at Oxford, which had given me a network of close friends, was becoming increasingly riven by factional splits, and despite its avowed committment to liberation, the attitudes of certain members of the club towards certain disadvantaged groups was becoming posionous.
Whether it be members of the Executive throwing around the term ‘Zio’ (a term for Jews usually confined to websites run by the Ku Klux Klan) with casual abandon, senior members of the club expressing their ‘solidarity’ with Hamas and explitictly defending their tactics of indiscriminately murdering civilians, or a former Co-Chair claiming that ‘most accusations of antisemitism are just the Zionists crying wolf’, a large proportion of both OULC and the student left in Oxford more generally have some kind of problem with Jews. The decision of the club to endorse a movement with a history of targetting and harassing Jewish students and inviting antisemitic speakers to campuses, despite the concerns of Jewish students, illustrates how uneven and insincere much of the active membership is when it comes to liberation.
I had hoped during my tenure as Co-Chair to move the club away from some of its more intolerant tendencies: sadly, it only continued to move away from me, to a place I could no longer hope to retrieve it from. I am now in a position where I can no longer in good conscience defend club policy, but I do not regret my time in OULC.
I commend Alex for his brave stand – and for shining a light on this huge problem that so many deny exists.