Ed Miliband cancels Oxford talk in 'anti-Semitism' row

Ed Miliband Image copyright Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Mr Miliband was due to talk at the Oxford University Labour Club on 4 March

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband has said he is "deeply disturbed" by claims of anti-Semitism at Oxford University Labour Club (OULC).

He has pulled out of a scheduled talk after the club's co-chairman Alex Chalmers resigned over it voting to support Israel Apartheid Week.

Mr Chalmers said many members had "some kind of problem with Jews". Labour Students has launched an investigation.

Mr Miliband, a former OULC member, had been due to give a talk on 4 March.

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This has now been postponed until after the investigation.

Mr Miliband's office said: "It is right that the executive of the club has roundly condemned the comments and fully co-operates with the Labour Students' investigation.

"Ed and the Labour Club have agreed that his talk should be postponed until the investigation is resolved."

'Poisonous' attitudes

Mr Chalmers, an Oriel College undergraduate, posted a statement on Facebook announcing his resignation.

He said certain members' attitudes at the club were becoming "poisonous" and "a large proportion of both OULC and the Student Left in Oxford more generally have some kind of problem with Jews".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A former co-chairman of Oxford University Labour Club said some members had "some kind of problem with Jews"

He said the decision to endorse Israel Apartheid Week illustrated the "uneven and insincere" attitude of some members "when it comes to liberation".

According to its website, Israel Apartheid Week takes place across 150 universities and cities and "aims to raise awareness about Israel's ongoing settler-colonial project and apartheid policies over the Palestinian people".

OULC said it would fully co-operate with Labour Students - the national youth body of the political party - in its investigation into allegations of anti-Semitism.

A spokesman for the Labour Party said it supported the investigation.

Universities minister Jo Johnson wrote on Twitter: "Concerned by reports of vile antisemitism on campus - Oxford Uni needs to undertake urgent investigation."

Oxford University did not comment on whether an investigation was being launched. It said students were encouraged to officially report harassment to the university authorities.

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