More allegations of anti-Semitism from members at the Oxford University Labour Club (OULC) have emerged in the wake of the resignation of one of its co-chairs. Alex Chalmers announced he is to step down from his role at the largest university Labour club in the country following claims some of its members "have a problem with Jews".
Chalmers made a series of accusations against those in the club in his resignation statement, including members causally using the term 'Zio' – a term for Jews used in websites run by the Ku Klux Klan or Neo-Nazi groups – others expressing their solidarity with Hamas and some senior members of the club suggesting most accusations of anti-Semitism are "just the Zionists crying wolf".
Following the accusations, Labour MP John Mann called for a full enquiry and suspension of OULC for the allegations of racism, adding the language allegedly used by some members is similar to those used by the far-right.
He added via Twitter: "Overt anti-Semitism rife amongst certain elements at Oxford University. These casual racists need to be directly challenged and more. The use of the term Zio as an abuse by some Oxford so-called left wingers is comparable to the language of Pegida zealots."
The Oxford University Jewish Society (JSoc) previously they were "saddened" but "unsurprised" by the reports of anti-Semitism, adding it is not the first time they have dealt with such accusations within the student left and "it will not be the last". JSoc have now said they have been approached by members of the OULC who have come forward with more allegations of anti-Semitism from some members at the group.
The JSoc said that the people have come forward with the allegations as the OULC has become "increasingly dominated by the radical student left". A spokesperson said: "Many of Oxford's Jewish students who hold progressive views have long felt excluded from left-wing political spaces. Jewish students who raised the issue of anti-semitism at the OULC meeting were laughed at and mocked. It is high time that this issue is confronted. We hope Alex's resignation triggers a broader awakening amongst student political movements, and that anti-Semitism, particularly on the student left, is finally taken seriously."
Update: Labour Students confirmed they have launched an "immediate investigation" into the allegations. An OULC spokesperson added: "We are horrified at and whole-heartedly condemn anti-Semitic behaviour in all its forms. The comments detailed in JSoc's statement indicate a shocking pattern of hateful and racist behaviour by some Club members, and it's of the highest priority that this be dealt with swiftly and lastingly. Labour Students is launching an investigation; we will fully co-operate with this and encourage any of our members to come forward with any information that will assist the process."
Russell Langer, the Union of Jewish Students campaigns director, said: "The latest allegations regarding anti-Semitism in Oxford University Labour Club show that the events this week were just the tip of the iceberg. The most concerning part of this case is the clear link between OULC's growing anti-Israel rhetoric and the blatant antisemitism its members have been accused of. We welcome the investigation which has been launched by Labour Students and call on Oxford University Students' Union to also investigate these matters. It is also vital that anyone within OULC who has witnessed antisemitism within the Club makes a formal complaint to these bodies."