Eggs thrown at Jewish students and Star of David ripped from neck in attacks at St Andrews
One student said: ‘It’s worrying. I think a lot of Jewish students don’t really feel supported through this’
Jewish students at The University of St Andrews had eggs thrown at them and another had the Star of David ripped from her neck.
The students were leaving a talk by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis who was visiting the Jewish Society at the university.
Ollie Davis, student and society president, told The Times: “There were three of us who were wearing kippahs on our heads, after a talk by the Chief Rabbi. And there were eggs thrown at us. I don’t believe they were students, but they were people, teenagers in St Andrews, who threw them at us.”
“It’s worrying. I think a lot of Jewish students don’t really feel supported through this.”
The boys who threw eggs were believed to be around 12 years old, a spokesperson for The University of St Andrews said.
“There have been posters [of the kidnapped Israelis] put up by a number of students and most of them have been ripped down within a day, or other people wrote over them with references to Gaza instead,” Ollie added.
“St Andrews can be quite an isolating place sometimes because it’s so far away,” he said. St Andrews was recently named as the top UK university by The Times Good University Guide.
“There are a lot of international students here that don’t have family anywhere near them too. So definitely right now it’s very difficult for Jewish students. Me personally, I’ve felt scared.”
A Jewish student has also been assaulted outside a St Andrews pub by a man who tried to tear the Star of David from her neck.
This comes after Jewish students in the UK have been found to face “over a year’s worth of Antisemitic incidents in a month” the UK’s Union of Jewish Students found.
There have been over 400 calls made to its student welfare hotline since the 8th October, the day after the initial Hamas attack on Israel. The Community Security Trust recorded 67 antisemitic incidents from the 7th October and 3rd November at 29 campuses, compared with 12 in the same period last year.
“Verbal abuse, intimidation of students, [and] posters calling for ‘intifada until victory,’ targeting of Jewish students’ accommodation, and even death threats” are making many students feel unsafe on campus, the group says.
At The University of Warwick, a group of Jewish students had their Whatsapp group chat infiltrated by “racist Pro-Palestine activists”. Jacob Lederman, a student at Warwick University, explained: “Four people infiltrated our group. They got through our security and posted some vile messages… It was pure antisemitism.”
One message read: “Everyone agree with what’s going on in Israel right?” This was followed by messages such as“F**k Israel” and “F*****g dirty Jewish c***s”.
A spokesperson for The University of St Andrews said: “The boys who threw eggs were believed to be around 12 years old and the incident was reported to Police Scotland by the interfaith chaplain who witnessed the incident.
“St Andrews is a peace-loving, inclusive community, and this week hundreds of students, staff and local people came together in a vigil in St Andrews at which Jewish and Palestinian voices joined to call for peace and an end to violence.
“We entirely understand the concern Jewish and Palestinian people feel at present, and that is why it is so important that any reports are fully investigated, and that facts and findings are made known widely.”
In a statement on its website, the department of Education said: “Ministers wrote to university leaders to remind them that they should act swiftly against any threats to Jewish students’ safety and welfare and reminded them that support for Hamas, a proscribed terrorist organisation, is a criminal act.
“Discrimination of any kind, including antisemitism, will not be tolerated on university campuses.”
If you have experienced any incidents of antisemitism or Islamophobia on a UK university campus you think we should know about, get in touch in confidence by emailing [email protected].
Featured image before edits via Canva.