Labour Club stand by speaker alleged to have made ‘anti-semitic’ comments

first_img“We hope that every effort will be made to provide a counter-argument to Mr Seymour’s position and that more care will be taken by the OULC in future.”An OULC member told Cherwell: “OULC’s approach to anti-Semitism and its Jewish members is essentially the same as its party overlords. Antisemitism: not an issue worth elevating to the same level as other forms of discrimination, followed by intense suspicion of anyone who raises issues. Co-chairs of OULC, Anisha Faruk and Ray Williams, told Cherwell: “In light of Richard Seymour’s positive clarifications, which we have passed onto Cherwell in full, and having met with Oxford JSoc, we believe that Seymour’s address can go ahead without infringing on our absolute commitment to making our members feel safe and opposing anti-semitism.”OULC’s official statement regarding tomorrow’s speaker invitation. pic.twitter.com/yqb8hgUiVM— Oxford University Labour Club (@OxUniLabour) May 7, 2018President of Oxford University Jewish Society (JSoc), Jacob Greenhouse, told Cherwell: “I am happy with the response, I do not know what he will say on the day but from the email it is clear that he is rather sorry about the anti-semitic comments we believe him to have raised and does not believe those views anymore.”However, he stressed that he has asked OULC to ensure that Seymour is challenged on his views at the event itself.A spokesperson for Labour Against Antisemitism, Euan Philipps, told Cherwell: “It is alarming that, given the current anti-semitism crisis in the Labour Party and the OULC’s own problematic recent history, that they did not carry out appropriate background checks before booking this speaker.“Richard Seymour has a track record of making controversial – and occasionally offensive – comments that tread a fine line between sensationalism and antisemitism. His recent attempts to minimise the issue of anti-Jewish discrimination in the Labour Party are a case in point. Oxford University Labour Club (OULC) have stood by their decision to invite a controversial speaker alleged to have made “anti-semitic” comments.Richard Seymour has previously expressed support for the proscribed terrorist group Hezbollah, while also claiming that the anti-semitism problem within the Labour party was a “witch-hunt”.Last week, the OULC co-chairs contacted Seymour to clarify his views on Israel, Hezbollah, and anti-semitism within the Labour party. His response was deemed satisfactory for the invitation not to be rescinded.However, concerns are still being raised by both members of OULC and the national party, with a spokesperson for Labour Against Antisemitism describing the decision to invite Seymour as “alarming”, and OULC members telling Cherwell they felt “scared to speak out” about their concerns.Last week, after Cherwell revealed some of Richard Seymour’s past comments, OULC resolved to contact Seymour to clarify his views.In his response, seen by Cherwell, Seymour expresses his regret for several of his comments regarding the nature of anti-semitism; qualifies his “unconditional, but not uncritical” support for Hezbollah as being in the context of the Lebanon War; and says that he has changed his mind since he wrote that “Labour doesn’t have an ‘anti-semitism problem’” and that the allegations form a “witch-hunt”.Seymour said: “It would be wrong to infer that these [blog] posts attested to broader support for Hezbollah’s overall ideology or its wider regional role. Certainly, at no point did this ‘support’ extend to any antisemitic affiliations or statements on the part of Hezbollah or any of its leaders or members.”Regarding his claims about a “witch-hunt”, he said: “my first reaction, which was to think of [the allegations of anti-semitism within the party] mainly as just another way to attack the leadership, is one I can no longer cleave to.”center_img “How high is the arrogance of these people, who think they can dismiss accusations of antisemitism as essentially insignificant? Who are these people who think they don’t need to take extra care to ensure their speakers don’t purport the same prejudice as the leadership of their party?“Jewish students feel uncomfortable being themselves and expressing their views… I’m an OULC member, and I feel scared to speak out against this.“I absolutely condemn the invitation to this speaker: what were they thinking? But it is, of course, part of a deep problem, which no statement in the quiet days of the vac can properly address.”In March, OULC released a statement slamming the Labour Party’s “consistently inadequate” responses to anti-semitism.It went on to say: “Our club has tried to learn from its mistakes and so must our party. We will continue to do all that we can to make sure that the Club remains a friendly and safe environment.”In response to the OULC member’s statement, Faruk and Williams told Cherwell: “We are saddened that an OULC member feels that they cannot openly bring up concerns they have within the club. Having learnt this, we will set up an anonymous complaints procedure so that future concerns can be voiced and will publicise our current disciplinary procedure much more extensively.”They added that they did not take the decision over whether to rescind Seymour’s invitation “lightly”, and it came only “after proper consultation with Oxford JSoc who support our desire to scrutinise unacceptable comments made by Seymour when he comes to speak.”Dear Oxford. This is truly alarming. A glorious university like Oxford should have no place and offer no platform to a man with these views. Hope to read you’ll be changing your mind urgently.— Emma Sinclair MBE (@ES_Entrepreneur) May 7, 2018OULC has faced scrutiny for their internal problems with anti-semitism in the past. In 2016, co-chair Alex Chalmers resigned in protest of what he perceived to be a large portion of club members having “some kind of problem with Jews”.After a year-long investigation, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party voted to clear the two student members under investigation for alleged anti-semitic behaviour – a decision Oxford JSoc labelled “utterly shameful”.Seymour will speak at the launch of Look Left, the Labour Club’s termly magazine, on Tuesday evening.last_img read more

Badgers cruise in win over Drake

first_imgShooting below 30 percent from the floor won’t win a team many games, especially on the road against a power six conference opponent such as Wisconsin. That notion held true Sunday afternoon at the Kohl Center as the Wisconsin women’s basketball team held Drake to just 26 percent shooting and won their first game of the season, 66-41.Head coach Bobbie Kelsey felt it was a combination of strong defense and Drake not being able to get into a rhythm that resulted in the Bulldogs making just 14 of 56 field goals and only shooting 19 percent from three-point range. The Badgers held all-MVC preseason pick Kyndal Clark to just three points and no Drake player scored in double figures.“We always hang our hat on trying to take away the other team’s best scorers, which were Clark and [Morgan] Reid,” Kelsey said. “They’re two of the players that they really depend on, and we held them both to single digits.”Sunday’s game meant the highly anticipated debut for Wisconsin forward and Connecticut transfer Michala Johnson. She did not disappoint. After sitting out last season per NCAA transfer rules, Johnson scored the first six points for the Badgers to open the game. She finished the game with 16 points and 16 rebounds, with seven of those rebounds coming off the offensive glass.After scoring 12 of her points in the first half, nearly recording a double-double in the first 20 minutes, Drake switched up their game plan to focus on stopping Johnson who was dominating in the low post. With their tallest starter being just six feet tall, the Bulldogs were greatly overmatched down low against the 6-foot-3 Johnson and 6-foot-1 Jackie Gulczynski. Wisconsin won the rebounding total, 49-34.“It was a little frustrating,” Johnson said about scoring just four points in the second half. “They were double teaming me, then triple teaming me and I felt like the whole team was on me. So I adjusted, we made changes as a team, so our shooters became open.”“We have to learn how to play from inside out,” Kelsey said. “Get [Johnson] established first, and then when they start sinking in, then we get the guards going.”With Johnson drawing plenty of attention from the Bulldog defense, Wisconsin needed to find a guard to start attacking the paint and score.Enter sophomore guard Dakota Whyte.Taking over point guard duties for the season, Whyte came on in the second half scoring 12 of her game high 18 points in the final half. She tacked on four rebounds and dished out two assists as well.“I thought Dakota [Whyte] had a really good game,” Kelsey said. “She’s come such a long way from last year, and she’s still learning. So, she’s going to get a lot better.”Filling in at point guard last season due to the numerous injuries the Badgers suffered, Whyte has taken her game to the next level according to Kelsey. This is in large part as to why Kelsey gave her the ever important duty of being the team’s point guard for the season. Whyte was ready to get out on the court today as the team’s signal caller.“It’s pressure [being the starting point guard],” Whyte said. “I’m kind of ready to just fill the role. I’ve been waiting for it for a year now and I’ve been just working hard for it.”Joining Whyte in the backcourt was fifth year senior Taylor Wurtz. Having redshirted last season due to a back injury, Wurtz came into Sunday’s game needing just five points to become Wisconsin’s 22nd member of the 1,000 point club. She reached the 1,000 point milestone on a three-pointer in the first half. Wurtz ended the game with 13 points to go along with seven rebounds in her return to the court.“I’m just really happy to be back,” Wurtz said. “I get to play with [Johnson], Dakota [Whyte], Morgan [Paige], Jacki [Gulczynski] and all of my teammates that I was watching last year. Now I’m finally out there playing. I’m just excited and I want to put everything I have into this team.”Johnson, Wurtz and Whyte leading the team could become a familiar theme for this year’s team. It certainly was on Sunday as the three of them combined to score 47 of the team’s 66 points and grabbed over half of the team’s rebounds for the game.“Michala [Johnson] did what she always does, which is get rebounds and score, and Taylor [Wurtz] is a threat out there as well,” Kelsey said. “A lot of other kids contributed well, but those three really had nice games for us. We’re going to keep building on what we’ve seen tonight and improve.”last_img read more