‘I felt so intimidated’: Jewish university students added to antisemitic group chat
The chat was named ‘Hamas recruitment committee’
CW: Antisemitic abuse
Jewish girls from universities across the country were added to an Instagram group chat where they were subject to antisemitic abuse.
When none of the girls added to the chat responded to the abuse, one boy wrote, “did they all die in an attack,” while another asked, “why there bare Jews in the chat” before stating: “I love me some oppressor pussy.”
Birmingham student, Kate* told The Tab: “It made me feel scared that strangers who I don’t know added me to this group chat in an attempt to spread terror amongst young people, for the pure reason that they are Jewish.
“When seeing the name of this group chat I knew immediately the intentions and after a difficult couple of days I couldn’t even bring myself to read the horrible messages, I just blocked the admins and got rid of it. It is terrifying that things like this are happening.”
The group chat, which was named “Hamas recruitment committee” once the girls were added, was created by a group of about 10 boys and girls around the ages of 17 – 19, based in London.
Sarah*, a student at The University of Leeds, told The Tab: “It was really shocking after days of seeing friends share antisemitic rhetoric on Instagram to then be directly targeted. I was shocked my private Instagram could be added into a group of such hateful behaviour. What made it even worse was that when I shared it, not one of my non-Jewish friends reached out for support. I felt so intimidated and threatened.”
In screenshots obtained by The Tab, one boy wrote: “Why these Jew girls not coming online. Did they all die in the attack.”
The same boy also sent a video of a child to the group chat with the caption: “Little does she know she’s going on the marketplace this evening.”
After denying any knowledge of the chat, he later told The Tab: “I’m not the owner of the gc bro I’ve just been in the gc for ages. I didn’t add them bro they were requested and I’m an admin.”
Leeds student, Amy Cregor told The Tab: “The group made me feel disgusting! They used phrases such as ‘I love me some oppressor pussy.’ I read these messages and was horrified because it’s been taken further than politics now. This war has turned into a social media campaign and protest that has been attacking religion.
“As a British Jew I feel so unsafe, and I feel even more uneasy at the fact that many of my friends have been sharing infographics that are incorrect. The group chat made me feel like I don’t have a place here.”
One of the youngest girls to be added to the chat was just 14. The group had around 30 people in it when the antisemitic abuse finally stopped the following day.
Bristol student, Eloise*, told The Tab: “I felt instantly shocked and intimidated by it. The boys were the only ones speaking on the chat writing comments like ‘why are none of these Jew girls talking’ and ‘I love me some oppressor pussy.’ I tried to leave the chat instantly but was added back again the next day. I reported all of the boys’ comments and tried not to look at it again.
“It made me feel powerless as I didn’t want to engage with it at all. This is the first time I have experienced direct, blatant antisemitism via social media, but I know this is something that is especially heightened right now and that saddens and frightens me greatly.”
It is not known how the girls added to the chat were found by the group creators and many of the girls were perplexed as they had not stated their religion on their online profiles. The girls agree that it is likely their usernames may have been found from posts they had previously liked.
The group chat comes after University Jewish societies reported a rise in antisemitic abuse towards Jewish students following the recent Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
UCL Jsoc has been inundated with death threats including a photoshopped image of one Jewish girl underneath a guillotine. 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.”
Royal Holloway students have experienced similar abuse as a sticker of the Israel flag with a swastika replacing the star of David in the middle was placed on the Library Terrace and Professor Paul Layzell, Principal of Royal Holloway, acknowledged that: “Students have contacted us about their concerns regarding tensions in the Middle East and their impact on campus.” Two arrests have now been made in connection to the hate crime.
Latest antisemitism update at @RoyalHolloway: this has been put on the library terrace. This was undeniably done by a student, as non-students don’t have access to the library.
— Neil Ilan (@ilan_neil) May 14, 2021
Bristol student, Sabrina Miller, has personally received a barrage of antisemitic abuse on Twitter, with one user calling her a “genociding zionazi lover.”
In Manchester, the charity CST has also reported “a terrifying rise in antisemitism.”
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.”
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. pic.twitter.com/lWhPBVLnLb
— Union of Jewish Students (@UJS_UK) May 11, 2021
Names marked with an (*) have been changed on the grounds of preserving anonymity.
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