By Will Charley, Comment Editor
Bristol Students Against Antisemitism, a group founded today, have established a Change.org petition demanding the resignation of incoming Bristol SU BME Chair Omar Chowdhury for ‘antisemitic abuse’.
The petition, which has 193 signatures at the time of writing, was launched this morning. It states that the results of an independent Bristol SU investigation, which found Mr Chowdhury to have made antisemitic comments and gave him an official warning, was ‘NOT enough’.
Instead, the petition states, ‘Mr Chowdhury, we support your policy of zero tolerance for racism, which is why we will not tolerate you or your racism’, referencing part of the incoming BME Chair’s election manifesto.
The petition goes on to state that ‘ethnic minorities cannot reasonably expect someone found to have been antisemitic to be their champion and representative in fighting antisemitism on our campus, making Omar clearly unfit and incapable to fulfil his role effectively.’
Speaking to Epigram, Sam Kahn and Seb Sultan, co-founders of Bristol Students Against Antisemitism, said:
‘Making racist comments certainly makes someone unsuitable for an anti-racism role. That’s why we’re calling on the SU, not to allow antisemitism to remain in our Union and to force Mr Chowdhury to stand down.
‘Antisemitism cannot be tolerated. Omar himself promised ‘zero tolerance on racism’. We will not allow his racism to be tolerated.’
However, alongside demanding the resignation of Mr Chowdhury from the position of BME Chair for the year 2019/20, the group’s petition states that Bristol Students’ Union is ‘tolerating and standing by antisemitism’.
Bristol Students Against Antisemitism goes further, by declaring on their petition that ‘we will continue to combat antisemitism as well as all forms of hatred even if Bristol SU does not.’
In response to the allegations of ‘tolerating’ antisemitism, a Bristol SU spokesperson told Epigram:
‘Bristol SU is committed to tackling racism and antisemitism on campus. We uphold the IHRA definition of antisemitism and will ensure that all SU officers and chairs of networks receive antisemitism training. We will also reach out to Jewish students to make sure their concerns are heard and addressed.’
Omar Chowdhury declined to comment.
Featured image: Bristol Students Against Antisemitism
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