Warwick Uni say they will investigate any complaints after professor’s Zionism claim
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Warwick Uni say they will investigate any complaints after professor’s Zionism claim

Virinder S Kalra told the audience at Institute for Palestinian Studies event of 'the links between the fascists and Nazis and the relationship with Zionists'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

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 the 26 May 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.”

He added there were “many links between Israeli far-right and neo-fascist white supremacists united in the hatred of Muslims all over Europe in the West broadly.”

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 last week’s event, first posted online by the Harry’s Place site, 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.”

It is understood that the Union of Jewish Students and Warwick JSoc are aware of the professor’s comments, made during the lecture titled Hindutva and Zionism – The Unholy Alliance, Amrit Wilson.

Jewish News repeatedly contacted Kalra to ask for a clarification of his views on Zionism and Nazism – including his apparent use of the controversial Haavara Agreement signed in 1933 between German Jewish Zionists and the Nazis, in an attempt to discredit the entire Zionist project.

The agreement was widely condemned by many Zionist groups at the time, but has been regularly cited since by far-left activists, including former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, as a means of discrediting Zionism.

Asked to respond to Kalra’s comments, 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, South Asia activist Wilson suggested Keir Starmer’s Labour leadership victory had been “funded by Israel” and that he had “declared his unqualified support for Zionism.”

The Union of Jewish Students told Jewish News: “We 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.

“Lecturers must consider the impact of their words, their actions, and their theories, before simply spreading misinformation that could harm their students.

“Universities must act to ensure that all students feel supported and safe whilst at university, and that there is a strong stand taken by the university against antisemitism and all prejudice and hatred.”

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