OUSU Statement: Anti-Semitism

At OUSU, we believe that it should be Jewish students who decide what constitutes anti-Semitism, as we hold other liberation groups as being experts on other forms of racism. We acknowledge that there are anti-Semitism problems in Oxford, as have been highlighted by the Home Affairs Select Committee Report and the Royall Report. We would like to express our commitment to tackling anti-Semitism, and in light of the recent UUK report we would also like to take this opportunity to remind students of the support structures in place.

We would particularly like to acknowledge concerns raised specifically over the National Union of Students and the Oxford University Labour Club.

While there is a variety of opinion amongst Jewish students regarding the NUS and its leadership, we cannot ignore or dismiss the hurt and anger caused by statements made by Malia Bouattia. We echo calls from Jewish students for a full and formal apology for her language and comments, condemn the lack of apology thus far, and agree that if no apology is made, the appropriate course of action would be resignation.

Even closer to home are the allegations of anti-Semitism within OULC, and the disappointment felt over the inadequate response from the University. We are aware of discussions taking place between OULC and JSOC, and hope that these discussions will be fruitful and that OULC can once again become a place where Jewish students feel welcome.

In light of the recent UUK recommendations on University responses to harassment, including acts which may be criminal such as hate crime, we will be working with marginalised communities to push for better policies within the University, in order to better support students here. We also continue our work on preventing PREVENT, on increasing BME admission and on monitoring instances of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism and faith-based harassment.

If any Jewish students have any concerns about anti-Semitism in Oxford, please do contact Sandy Downs at vpweo@ousu.ox.ac.uk or JSOC at president@oxfordjsoc.co.uk.

Other useful contacts include:

Oxford Jewish Society
Oxford Jewish Chaplaincy
Contact Rabbi Michael Rosenfeld-Schueler (michael@mychaplaincy.co.uk or 07717742835) or Tracey Rosenfeld-Schueler (tracey@mychaplaincy.co.uk or 07786706105)
UJS – ujs@ujs.org.uk
The Counselling Service – Tel: 01865 270300 or email counselling@admin.ox.ac.uk
Peers of Colour
The Student Advice Service
OU Chabad Society: info@oxfordchabad.org or contact Rabbi Eli Brackman (rabbi@oxfordchabad.org or 07772 079 940).