<< back to Newsletter
By Renee Ghert-Zand, The Forward,
November 10, 2011
Anti-Semitism has reared its ugly head again at Oxford University in England. Disillusioned officers of the university’s Conservative Association recently leaked documents to the campus newspaper The Oxford Student, showing evidence of anti-Semitic behavior among its members.
The paper found one video to be particularly offensive. It is of a student leading others in a drunken chant of “Dashing through the Reich / in a black Mercedes Benz / killing lots of kike / ra ta ta ta ta. ” It was evidently recorded toward the end of the Michaelmas term in 2010. That would have been in December, which would explain why — at least to The Shmooze’s ear — these lyrics sound as though they go to the tune of “Jingle Bells.” The song has reportedly been enthusiastically sung by OUCA members in other seasons, as well.
Jennifer Lipman wrote in the Jewish Chronicle that several of the association’s members have resigned in protest of this and other unacceptable behavior in the OUCA. Lipman reported that a student named Joe Cooke, a former president of the association, said he was resigning because the OUCA had “come to represent everything we’re supposed to stand against.”
The association’s current president, James Lawson, said that he is investigating the incident and that the person leading the song in the video will be expelled from OUCA if he turns out to actually be a member of the association.
A director of the Union of Jewish Students, Dan Sheldon, said that the union supported Cooke and any others who decide to resign from the OUCA. “It was a deeply disturbing incident, and one which should be strongly reprimanded. UJS fully supports the university’s investigation into it and any disciplinary action then taken,” Sheldon said.
At this point, however, Oxford authorities have not yet taken any action, with a spokesman saying, “It is not clear at this stage whether or not these allegations are accurate.”
Many prominent British politicians, including former prime ministers Margaret Thatcher and Ted Heath, are alumni of the OUCA. The association has been implicated in the past in racist and anti-Semitic behavior. Lipman reported that some of its students were expelled in 2000 for making Nazi salutes, and that the association was banned temporarily by the university a couple of years ago for racist activities of its members.