Activism, Campaigns and News

In Solidarity with Goldie Osuri

#StudentsWithGoldieOsuri

We, the undersigned, are a collective of students within the Warwick Sociology department who have been taught by or had contact with Dr Goldie Osuri within a personal or educational capacity. We vouch for Dr Goldie Osuri not purely because of her character, but because it is within the interest of remaining honest and factual to do so. Having either attended the lecture in question or reviewed the lecture content after the fact, we believe that the mischaracterisation of Dr Goldie Osuri as antisemitic is untrue and libellous.

 

We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with Goldie for the following reasons:

  • We believe that all lives are precious. That this includes Jewish lives which are always at risk of violence. That this includes Palestinian lives which are always at risk of violence.
  • We believe that Dr Goldie Osuri was fair to recognise both of these aforementioned facts in her lecture.
  • We believe that Dr Goldie Osuri handled the topic with deliberate care, knowing the controversial nature of the Israel-Palestine conflict and, consequently, using precise language as to not diminish anyone’s lives or contribute to anyone’s dehumanisation.
  • We believe that the conflation of the policies of the state of Israel with the opinions and/or political ideologies of all Jewish people is antisemitic. This is something that Dr Goldie Osuri went to extra lengths in the lecture to remind us, providing several disclaimers at various points in the lecture in a manner that can only be described as overly-cautious.
  • We believe that critique of Zionist rhetoric – rhetoric which sometimes seeks to erase, obscure and invisibilise Palestinian lives – is not antisemitic. In this case, Dr Goldie Osuri provided academic and researched critique of Zionist rhetoric as it relates to transnational media ecologies in a measured and careful manner. In no way could her analysis be considered antisemitic. In fact, these critiques were re-articulations of transnational social media discourses, not her own political opinions.

 

We, the undersigned, stand in opposition to the mischaracterisation of Dr Goldie Osuri. We believe that this mischaracterisation has gone far enough. We do this for the following reasons:

  • We believe that the increasing criminalisation and penalisation of discussing the realities of Israel-Palestine in an academic context is dangerous to all our freedoms as oppressed people, minorities within this institution, and sociologists.
  • We believe that technological surveillance – which ironically was a topic within Dr Goldie Osuri’s lecture – is not just abstract theory, but a reality for many people, especially scholar-activists of colour who are in search of collective freedom and justice.
  • We believe that this surveillance which disproportionately penalises scholar-activists of colour leaves us prone to precarity, violence, and silencing. In fact, we believe that the fact that Dr Goldie Osuri was subject to such surveillance is evidence of her prowess as an academic, since what she articulated as theory is being demonstrated to us in real time.
  • We believe that students are students, not police officers or Prevent agents or border guards or agents of a hostile surveillance state and/or surveillance market.
  • Following from this, we believe that the attempt to a) record specific selected sections of Dr Goldie Osuri’s lecture, b) decontextualize the content, and c) leak this (mis)information to the national press, was the action of a student who took offence to the lecture material. Though we cannot ‘know’ whether said student(s) was acting in a deliberately malicious intention due to their own inability to handle the well-documented facts of Israel-Palestine, we can collectively condemn the actions of said student. Indeed, it is within our best conscience to do so.
  • We believe that said student(s) had the opportunity to contest the content of the lecture during the lecture, after the lecture, and within the seminar. In fact, it is within Dr Goldie Osuri’s mild-mannered and humble nature to welcome comments, critiques and opposing thoughts. Instead, said student(s) went straight to a national news outlet. Other avenues they could have pursued involve: raising concerns with the lecturer directly, filing a complaint, or speaking up for what they believe in – something we the undersigned often manage to do for ourselves daily in the face of (micro)aggressions.
  • We believe that we are part of the same community with our teachers, including Dr Goldie Osuri, with a common unifying goal: free decolonised accessible knowledge for all people at all times.
  • We believe that we are part of the same community with our teachers, including Dr Goldie Osuri, resisting similar attacks against our education: the commodification, marketisation, and securitisation of our learning.
  • We believe that none of us are free until all of us are free.

 

We, the undersigned, draw attention to the following facts:

  • The module which Dr Goldie Osuri teaches is concerned with ‘Transnational Media Ecologies’.
    • The quote used in the notes about Palestinian resistance ‘by any means’ – for clarification – is a quote by Hamid Dabashi (2014). Dr Goldie Osuri used this quote to highlight the differing narratives between the mainstream media and the ways in which Palestinians resist (not reducible to terrorism as Hamid Dabashi argues).
    • There is a group called Jewish Voice for Labour who argue that the claims of anti-semitism against the Labour Party are orchestrated. When Dr Goldie Osuri spoke of a lobby, she was not presenting an argument or a fact, she was specifically referring to the ‘transnational connectivities’ between Israel and the UK with reference to the example of the Labour Party. She made this clear in the lecture. You can read more about Jewish Voice for Labour here: https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk
    • Dr Goldie Osuri also quoted Israel Zangwill (1901), a British author at the forefront of cultural Zionism, “Palestine is a country without a people; the Jews are a people without a country”. This was conveniently left out of the news article written about her lecture. The point was to include different popular discourses surrounding Israel-Palestine to highlight differing knowledges about a single conflict and how these knowledges are represented and disseminated in different media ‘ecologies’. These weren’t assertions, arguments or political opinions. She was doing her job, and doing it well.
  • Two members of Warwick University’s Jewish Israeli society who are leading the allegations of antisemitism against Dr Goldie Osuri are fellowship holders of the StandwithUs Emerson Fellowship. The fellowship is overtly about sending ‘trained pro-Israel’ student leaders to University campuses to create positive perceptions about Israel. It must also be mentioned that claims of islamophobia have been made against StandWithUs as an organisation. We believe that this information goes a long way toward explaining the kind of decontextualisation and misinformation that was being spread about the lecture and about Dr Goldie Osuri.  Here are some of the receipts for these claims:

–  In the same week that over 34 Palestinians have been massacred by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), a colonel from that same force is being allowed to speak on campus. Perhaps it is time to re-evaluate who is ‘free’ to speak and what they are ‘free’ to speak about.

 

We call for student journalists, student societies and (national) news outlets to retract the lies made against Dr Goldie Osuri with unequivocal apologies. We call for the University to use this statement as evidence in support of Dr Goldie Osuri in any disciplinary proceedings regarding this matter.

 

For all of these reasons and more, we – the undersigned – stand in unwavering solidarity with Goldie Osuri! #StudentsWithGoldieOsuri

 

We, the undersigned:

Ademola Anjorin (Politics and Sociology)

Lucy Mooring (Sociology)

Lanaire Aderemi ( Sociology)

Precious Okoye (Sociology)

Majidha Jaman (Social and Political Thought, Sociology)

Tao Yang (Politics and Sociology)

Rebecca Fox (Sociology with Quantitative Methods)

Zainab Ilyas ( Sociology)

Sarah Michaels (Sociology)

Lucy Dunkling (Sociology)

Patrick Lees (Social and Political Thought alumni)

Sarah Staniforth (Sociology alumna)

Sarita Patel (Sociology)

Agatha Barker (Sociology alumni)

Neesha Nhika (Sociology)

Rhea Ebanks-Simpson (Sociology)

Soraya Momoniat (Sociology)

Helena Navarrete Plana (Sociology Alumnae)

Lea Lapautre (Sociology Alumnae)

Ella Hattey (Sociology Alumna)

Jay Kinsella (Sociology)

Hasan Aziz (Sociology)

Rain Girard (Sociology)

Summer Baillarger (History and Sociology)

Nooran El-Faki (Sociology and GSD)

Essyl Harding (Law and Sociology)

Georgina Lord (Sociology)

Amrita Purewal (Sociology)

Sasha Hailey (Sociology alumna)

Katherine S-Williams (Sociology)

Evren Uygun (Sociology)

Amy Porton-Bowden (Sociology)

James Whitfield (Sociology)

Azariah Chris Shane Bhatti (Sociology alumna)

Halimah Manan (History and Sociology alumna)

Hannah Ayres (Sociology PhD)

Simon Arthur (With granted permission by email- Phd student and sessional tutor)

Glenn Smith (History and Sociology alum)

Caryn Thandi Petersen (Sociology PhD and Transnational Media Ecologies sessional tutor)

Safrina Kumar Ahmed (Sociology alumni)

Harry Smith (Sociology alumni)

Alexandru Giurgea (Politics and Sociology)

Rachel Tan (Politics and Sociology)

Somak Biswas (Associate Tutor, Sociology)

Lorenzo Feltrin (Research Assistant, Sociology)

Marcel Obst (Sociology PhD)