British Labour Party to probe anti-Semitism claims against its Oxford U club

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — Following a student’s resignation from Oxford University’s Labour Club over alleged anti-Semitism, a lawmaker for the British party will head an inquiry into his claims.

Janet Royall, Labour’s former leader of the House of Lords, the British Parliament’s upper house, was appointed Friday to head a fresh investigation into the allegations at the top university, The Jewish Chronicle reported Sunday.

On Feb. 17, Alex Chalmers, who is not Jewish, resigned as co-chair of the club after he claimed his colleagues “have some kind of problem with Jews.”

Chalmers said he was leaving the “poisonous” Oxford University’s Labour Club after it endorsed Israel Apartheid Week —  a string of activities against Israel that takes place annually in several dozen cities and especially on campuses.

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On Friday night, the Labour students group confirmed it had completed its investigation, which has not been published, and moved it to the party.

Royall, who attended a Labour Friends of Israel delegation in 2007, her first visit to Israel, has spoken previously about the need to find a solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. She once said she recognized Hamas’ “democratic mandate” while also calling on the terror group to recognize Israel.

Separately, the University of York’s students’ union is facing backlash for permitting pro-Palestinian activists, including a son of Labour Chairman Jeremy Corbyn,  to organize the production of a controversial play that has been dubbed by critics as anti-Israeli, the International Business Times reported.

“Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza” was staged Feb. 24 at York as part of the anti-Israel week of events staged by some students there. First performed in 2009 in London, it prompted heated debate on whether its anti-Israel message was anti-Semitic, with critics alleging it serves to stoke anti-Semitic hatred and advocates defending it as legitimate criticism of Israeli government policies.

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