University Jewish societies report rise in antisemitic abuse towards Jewish students
One UCL student was sent a death threat
CW: Antisemitic abuse
Jewish students up and down the country are receiving antisemitic abuse as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict boils over into its second week.
One Jewish UCL student was sent a death threat which included a photoshopped picture of her under a guillotine.
UCL Jsoc has also been inundated with threatening messages. One Instagram user told the student-run organisation: “I wish death upon you and curses for life and inshallah to your unborns. Your mother, your father and you will burn in this life and the life after.”
Another user told UCL Jsoc to come to campus. “We’ll be waiting to say hello to you, Arab style,” they said.
President of UCL Jsoc Samuel Goldstone told The Tab: “Jewish students are terrified for their safety on campus since the upsurge in antisemitic abuse and attacks over the past few days, including threats directed towards UCL students.
“Antisemitism should have no place at UCL. The Jewish society will continue to assist and protect Jewish students on campus and we hope that UCL will punish those found to be responsible for spreading this hatred.”
In a statement, Dr Michael Spence UCL President and Provost said: “Our colleagues in UCL Security are working with local police to ensure there is an increased presence around the perimeter of the Bloomsbury campus, and our security officers will remain vigilant both on campus gates when monitoring individuals’ access to campus and in work and study spaces.”
At Royal Holloway University a sticker of the Israel flag with a swastika replacing the star of David in the middle was placed on the Library terrace.
RHUL JSoc said: “This cannot be tolerated. Opposition to the Israeli government actions does not justify these acts of bigotry, just as Islamist violence does not justify Islamaphobic bigotry.”
Professor Paul Layzell, Principal of Royal Holloway, University of London, said: “Students have contacted us about their concerns regarding tensions in the Middle East and their impact on campus.
“Within our community at Royal Holloway, we seek to uphold principles of respect for individuals, with an abhorrence of violence, and a belief that education can be used to make society better for all.
“We all have a role to play in maintaining a peaceful, respectful, inclusive and welcoming community, on and off campus. We must all play our part. Individuals who fail to behave appropriately will be subject to our university’s full disciplinary procedures, including passing details to the Police.”
Bristol student Sabrina Miller has personally received a barrage of antisemitic abuse on Twitter, with one person replying to tweet of hers with an image of a burning Israel flag.
The same person called her a “genociding zionazi lover”, while another reply from a different user contained a cartoon comparing an Israeli soldier to a Nazi.
Sabrina told The Tab: “Antisemitism makes me sick to my stomach. People all too often share, like and repost Instagram infographics without understanding how misleading or plain racist they are. It’s so frustrating and emotionally draining.”
Leeds JSoc and others have also seen a rise in antisemitic incidents being reported to them.
A spokesperson for the University of Cambridge JSoc said: “Jewish students have reported an increase in street-level harassment. We have seen social media posts by academics and students glorifying terrorist organisations and invoking the trauma of the Holocaust to advance political claims.”
A spokesperson for the Union of jewish students said: “UJS is disgusted that Jewish students and societies are being targeted with antisemitic abuse. Antisemitism is never the answer to increased hostilities in the Middle East and Jewish students must not be held to account for this.”
NUS statement controversy
The National Union of Students initially issued a statement which was heavily criticised by the Jewish community. NUS later took the deleted the statement, before posting a revised one to Twitter.
The initial statement read: “We are deeply concerned to hear of a spike in antisemitism on campuses as a result of Israeli forces’ violent attacks on Palestinians.”
Samuel Goldstone thought this statement was “really awful” as it “blamed Israel for antisemitic attacks on British Jews.”
NUS deleted that statement before issuing a new one which said: “We are deeply appalled to hear of a spike in antisemitism on campuses. We unequivocally condemn the antisemitic abuse being directed towards Jewish students and Jewish communities around the world.
“Antisemitism masquerading as Palestinian solidarity does nothing for Palestinians and actively harms Jewish people. This is wholly unacceptable.
“We would like to apologise profusely for any harm caused by the previous version of this statement. We owe thanks to those Jewish members of the student movement who have engaged with us to help us reflect on and revise it, to better reflect our movement’s intentions in fighting for justice for all.”
If there are any Jewish students in need of support, please contact UJS on 0207 4243288 or email [email protected] To report an antisemitic attack, call CST at their 24 hour number 0800 032 3263
If you or someone you know has experienced antisemitism at university, drop an email to [email protected]