British University Decides Not to Punish Lecturer Who Promoted Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theory
September 9, 2020
In November 2019, associate-professor at the University of Warwick Dr Goldie Osuri said in a lecture to students that the “Israel lobby” was responsible for claims of anti-Semitism in the British Labour Party. At the time, the Warwick Jewish and Israel Society made a formal complaint stating that Osuri’s comments were anti-Semitic. Last week, the university’s Provost Christine Ennew denied their complaint, alleging that there were “insufficient grounds” to pursue it further.
The London-based Jewish News reported that Osuri’s lecture included the following comments: “So the next time they say that the Labour Party is anti-Semitic, or you know there are some people possibly that are possibly antisemitic, but the idea that the Labour Party is anti-Semitic is very much an Israeli lobby kind of idea, the idea that you want to discredit the Labour Party because there is support for Palestine among some members of the Labour Party.”
According to tweets by British student organization the Union of Jewish Students, Osuri’s remarks were then subject to a biased investigation, conducted by Dr Virinder S. Kalra at the Warwick Sociology Department. Kalra had signed an open letter in 2017 condemning the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism. The Sociology Department investigation defended Osuri, concluding in January 2020 that her comments “opened up the space for dialogue and discussion as would be expected in an academic environment and that the statement made in the lecture holds within the principles and values of tolerance and free speech.” Warwick Jewish and Israel Society appealed this decision, but their appeal was denied by Warwick University Provost Christine Ennew last week. Ennew wrote in a letter that there were “insufficient grounds to progress the complaint.”
Toby Kunin, a board member of the Warwick Jewish and Israel Society, told the Jewish News: “It is becoming undoubtedly clear that the University is institutionally anti-Semitic.”
Osuri’s comments echoed a well-known anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, blaming pro-Israel Jews for the rampant anti-Semitism that plagued the British Labour party under former leader Jeremy Corbyn.