Swastikas ‘placed outside of entrances to campus facilities’ at RHUL
The swastikas have been labelled ‘antisemitic’ and ‘racist’ towards Jewish students
Posters of Israeli flags with swastikas replacing the Star of David have been found on Royal Holloway campus in the last few days.
The swastikas have been placed “on the library terrace” and “outside entrances to campus facilities” following widespread social media turmoil surrounding the current violence in the Israel-Palestine conflict.
A Royal Holloway student was filmed allegedly “declaring through a megaphone his support for the racist terrorist organisation Hamas on Founder’s Square” at the protests taking place on campus, and “vicious online abuse” was also reportedly aimed at Jewish students, with statements including “I wish someone else would come and burn you like Hitler”.
The RHUL Jewish Society, Labour Society and President of JSoc have all responded to these acts of antisemitism, expressing their “solidarity with the Jewish community on campus” and saying that this “racist abuse” “simply cannot be tolerated”.
Neil Ilan, President of RHUL Jewish Society, has tweeted about the swastika poster that was placed on the library terrace, saying: “This was undeniably done by a student, as non-students do not have access to the library.
“This is who we share a campus with. We see your attempts to intimidate us, but you will never succeed.
“They want us out of here. They make this clear when they direct antisemitic abuse online to us, when they express support for antisemitic terrorist groups, and now when they evoke the image of the swastika – all of which has happened at RHUL in the past week.”
On Instagram, RHUL Jewish Society condemned these acts with their post, saying: “Opposition to the Israeli government’s actions does not justify these acts of bigotry, just as Islamist violence does not justify Islamaphobic bigotry.
“Royal Holloway has garnered a reputation of being a liberal, diverse and welcoming University, yet these images and experiences make Jewish students feel more and more as if that doesn’t apply to them.”
Alongside RHUL Labour Society, they are calling for the university to “take a stand” and “deal with this issue”, however Royal Holloway’s delayed response to this display of swastikas and antisemitism has left students “pretty angry”, according to a RHUL student who spoke to us.
When contacted by The Tab London, Professor Paul Layzell, Principal of Royal Holloway, 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.
“If for any reason our students or members of staff are concerned about their wellbeing, or that of another student or member of our staff, they should contact our student or staff welfare teams via [email protected].”