Condemnation for decision to invite Ken Loach to speak at St Peter’s College, Oxford

Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl has written to Professor Judith Buchanan, Master of St Peter’s College, Oxford, describing the decision to invite him to speak at the college ‘entirely unacceptable’ and calling for the event to be cancelled.

Marie said: “That an Oxford college would not conduct its due diligence and allow Ken Loach to address students is entirely unacceptable. Higher education institutions have a duty of care to their students, which must include a zero tolerance policy to antisemitism and those who minimise or deny it. We have been in touch with Jewish students in Oxford and wholeheartedly support their condemnation of the event. This event should not take place.”

Oxford Jewish Society President Samuel Benjamin said: “It is deeply disappointing that Ken Loach is due to speak at St Peter’s College this evening. Professor Buchanan, though she may have been unaware of Loach’s antisemitic remarks when she extended the invitation, has decided not to cancel the event in spite of being informed of his views over the weekend. This has come at the expense of the welfare of Jewish students in Oxford, especially those at St Peter’s College. As a Jewish Society we will not shy away from our duty to protect the interests of Jews on campus.”

Last year, the Board of Deputies wrote to charity Show Racism The Red Card, strongly criticising the decision to select Mr Loach to be a judge for an anti-racism competition. You can find this letter here.

Keep Informed

Sign up for our weekly briefing, delivered to your inbox every Thursday, giving you up to date news on events and activists of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, as well as the activities of member organisations and partners. 
Subscribe to Community Briefing


The Board of Deputies relies on the generous support of the Jewish community through individual contributions and donations. Help us be the voice of the British Jewish community by donating today. All funds received go to our core charitable mission.