The Union of Jewish Students and Nottingham Jewish Society have called on the University of Nottingham to cancel an invitation to disgraced MP Chris Williamson to speak on its campus.
Williamson is scheduled to speak as part of a series on “British Politics in Crisis” at the Centre for British Politics tomorrow.
He was suspended from Labour after claiming the party had been “too apologetic” over antisemitism.
Readmitted to the party, Williamson was resuspended following a public outcry.
Williamson has also supported Labour activists including Jackie Walker, twice suspended from the Party over allegations of antisemitism.
The university has defended its a decision to invite Williamson to speak on campus.
A spokesperson said the university was committed to supporting the well-being of students but had a “legal duty to ensure lawful free speech should not be prevented” on campus.
UJS and Nottingham JSoc however issued a joint statement noting surprise at a “wholly unacceptable” decision.
“Williamson has been suspended by the Labour Party over anti-Semitism and has a consistent history of Jew-baiting and defending anti-Semitism,” the statement explained.
Williamson was asked to speak to add a perspective as an ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
“There are plenty of individuals the university could have invited who have not been suspended for anti-Semitism,” the Jewish organisations noted.
They added, “The University of Nottingham has a proud record of being a welcoming place for Jewish students. Decisions to host those suspended from their political parties over anti-Jewish racism are inappropriate, offensive and go against the very ideals of the university.
“We have contacted the university to express our concern and have called on the event to be cancelled immediately.”
It is understood students can ask questions at the end of the event.
Gideon Falter, Campaign Against Antisemitism chief executive commented, “It is a damning reflection on the University of Nottingham that it chooses to invite a politician suspended from the Labour Party over his attempts to minimise the Party’s antisemitism crisis and who has a record of praising anti-Semites to give a lecture.
“If the university wishes to teach its students why British politics is in crisis it might start by exploring why leading institutions are so ready to legitimise Labour anti-Semitism by inviting one of its chief defenders to speak.”
In recent months, 12 MPs and three peers have resigned from the Labour Party over anti-Semitism, along with MEPs, councillors and members.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from CAA in May.