Warwick University will investigate complaints of antisemitism after a sociology professor repeatedly compared people who support the existence of a Jewish state to Nazis during a talk on relations between Israel and India.
Virinder S Kalra told the audience at an event organised by the Institute for Palestinian Studies of “the links between the fascists and Nazis and the relationship with Zionists”.
Acting as moderator at a lecture delivered by the author Amrit Wilson, the Warwick academic quoted a Facebook comment which said: “It is important to point out the Zionists were the only group that broke the Jewish boycott of the Nazis.”
Kalra continued: “Many Nazis called themselves Zionist since they would accomplish their ideology of cleansing European Jews.”
Kalra, who says in his university biography that his main areas of research are “racism and ethnicity in relation to popular culture”, also proceeds to criticise the IHRA definition of antisemitism.
In footage of the event, he says: “I think the IHRA definition is opening a very slippery slope in terms of any criticism of state violence suddenly becomes a criticism of a particular group, which can be seen as a minority, racialised in any kind of way.”
A University of Warwick spokesperson said: “Antisemitism is abhorrent and we take a zero-tolerance approach to any form of racism or discrimination.
“Where a complaint is made, it will always be investigated and reported to the police and other agencies where appropriate. Individuals who are found to have broken our values by our own comprehensive disciplinary processes will face sanctions.”
During her lecture last week, Wilson suggested Keir Starmer’s Labour leadership victory had been “funded by Israel” and that he had “declared his unqualified support for Zionism.”
The UK’s Union of Jewish Students said that they “have seen time and time again, that when University lecturers and guest speakers use their platforms and status to spread dangerous and false conspiracies drawing from tropes related to antisemitism, it is the Jewish students studying at their institutions who face the consequences”.