People pay tribute to the victims of a hostage taking outside the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket near Porte de Vincennes in eastern Paris.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Members of a prominent Oxford University student group affiliated with the Labour Party laughed at Jewish victims of terrorism and made fun of the Holocaust, the Sunday Times reported.
According to the British weekly, club members called Jewish students “Zios” (a term for Jews usually confined to Ku Klux Klan websites), dubbed the Auschwitz death camp “a cash cow,” sang about rockets being fired at Tel Aviv and expressed approval for both attacks on Parisian synagogues in 2014 and the shooting of four Jews in a Paris supermarket the following year.
A number of students belonging to the club spoke to the newspaper following the failure of the group’s national leadership to publish the results of an internal investigation more than a week after its completion.
The Labour Club first came under fire last month due to the resignation of Oxford co-chairman Alex Chalmers, who alleged that “the attitudes of certain members of the club toward certain disadvantaged groups was becoming poisonous.”
“Whether it be members of the executive throwing around the term ‘Zio’ with casual abandon, senior members of the club expressing their ‘solidarity’ with Hamas and explicitly defending their tactics of indiscriminately murdering civilians, or a former co-chair claiming that ‘most accusations of anti-Semitism are just the Zionists crying wolf,’ a large proportion of both [Oxford University Labour Club] and the student[s] left in Oxford more generally have some kind of problem with Jews,” Chalmers lamented on Facebook.
Soon afterward, an investigation was announced, with the club’s leadership stating that it “wholeheartedly” condemned anti-Semitism and that it would cooperate with the investigation, encouraging its members to come forward.
Members of the group who did testify, however, were soon disillusioned, turning to the press rather than wait for the results to be published.
Last month, the group received a harsh repudiation by former Labour chief Ed Miliband, who announced he would not speak at Oxford until the investigation was completed.
Meanwhile, writing in Jewish News, Labour MPs Michael Dugher and Rachel Reeves called the group’s decision to endorse Israel Apartheid Week “ignorant, offensive and deeply unfair.”
“How we deal with allegations of anti-Semitism and racism inside our party is a big test for Labour,” the lawmakers stated, asserting that while it was admirable that an investigation was conducted, it was disappointing that the resulting report had not been public.
The British-Jewish community has been vocal in its anger over the anti-Semitism scandal, with Jonathan Arkush, an Oxford alumnus and president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, stating last month that “the stench of anti-Semitism now appears to have permeated the Oxford University Labour Club at my old university.”
“As we have often warned, this is in part a direct result of the anti-Israel bigotry, prevalent in the far Left, and in part from the fact that Israel is used as a pretext for racism directed against Jews. The Labour Party and Oxford University must now take rigorous and credible measures to rid themselves of all anti-Semitic and racist elements.”
Britain’s Zionist Federation also called Labor to the carpet, stating that while virulent anti-Semitism used to be associated with “right-wing thugs,” it now appears to be “almost de rigueur amongst left-wing intellectuals.”
“But the rot goes beyond a few bad apples – it’s not surprising that Labour students glorify Hamas when their own party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has described them as a social justice movement whilst inviting them to Parliament.
“The views and actions of these supposed socialists are now indistinguishable from those of fascists.”
Long seen as staunchly opposed to Israel, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn held his first meeting with the senior leadership of organized British Jewry a week ago in which he offered his support for a two-state solution in what appeared to be an effort to mend fences.
During that meeting, Corbyn “resolved in strong terms to fight anti-Semitism from wherever it comes” and “rejected any sort of violence or intimidation such as occurred at King’s College London,” the Board of Deputies said on its website.
Corbyn was referring to a January talk by former Shin Bet head Ami Ayalon, which was disrupted by pro-Palestinian demonstrators who turned violent, smashing a window, setting off fire alarms and unleashing “a tirade of verbal abuse, inches from the faces of many Jewish students,” according to witnesses.
Overall, London experienced a massive surge in anti-Semitism in 2015, with anti-Semitic incidents up more than 60 percent over the previous year.
According to Metropolitan Police, 483 anti-Semitic crimes were recorded during the 12-month period ending on November 15, while only 299 such incidents were recorded during the corresponding period in 2014, marking an increase of 61.5%.