Warwick Uni student apologises for taking antisemitic sign to Palestine protest

‘The poster is antisemitic because it depicts a netanyahu (Jew) as Satan, drinking blood from Gaza’

CW: Antisemitism

A student at Warwick University has apologised after making an antisemitic poster and taking it to the on-campus protest for Palestine on Friday.

The sign depicted “blood libel”, an ancient trope claiming that Jews murder gentiles (non-Jews), particularly Christian babies, in order to drink their blood. One member of Warwick’s Jewish Society (JSOC) explained: “The poster is antisemitic because it depicts a netanyahu as Satan, drinking blood from Gaza.”

The protest was organised by Warwick Friends of Palestine Society, in solidarity with the Palestinian people against their victimisation of Palestinians by the Israeli government.

The creator of the sign, who wishes to remain anonymous, apologised for their actions, stating: “I wanted to start off by apologising to the Jewish community for my poster at the protest. I acknowledge that I should’ve done proper research before reusing an image that I was not properly researched on.

“I am aware that the ramifications of my actions are far-reaching and have potentially caused great trauma to the Jewish community. For that I am truly and sincerely sorry and promise that I will be more careful with what I use.

“I will also ensure that any criticism of Israel and the Israeli state and its policies does not ever veer into anti-Semitic territory because this is not a productive venture and the two should never be conflated. I apologise again to the Jewish community for any hurt that I’ve caused.”

Another member of JSOC explained the ramifications of the poster, saying: “Confusing anti-Zionism with antisemitism is extremely dangerous for the Jewish community and more common than not. It is entirely possible to condemn the actions of the Israeli government and stand in solidarity with the Palestinians while also understanding that Jews have nothing to do with the conflict.”

Zach Smerin, the Vice President of the Warwick Friends of Palestine, spoke about the poster, stating: “This issue was handled with the necessary speed and care it deserved. Later on Friday, we put out a statement condemning and distancing ourselves from the sign and its creator, who is neither affiliated with our society, nor participated in the organisation of the protest.

The statement shared to Warwick Friends of Palestine’s Twitter

“We have liaised extensively with and received praise from members of the executive and the general membership of the Warwick Jewish Society for our statement. Our statement was drafted by our VP, who is an active member of the JSoc. The guilty individual contacted us later that day and apologised for their behaviour.”

Speaking more generally about the protest, he said: “We co-organised the protest in solidarity with the Palestinian people, who are continuously victimised by the Israeli government’s policies of institutional racial discrimination and segregation (which fit under the definition of apartheid as recognised by the UN and Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights organisations) in particular support of those who are the most recent victims of violence across the entirety of historic Palestine.

Photos from Friday’s protest

“We also wanted to focus on the local impact that we can have on pressuring the Israeli government into ending its racist policies, including making the university enforce its own investment policy and end its ties with companies that are complicit in the Israeli government’s violations of international law.

“We were very happy with the turnout, and looking at the incredible number of people that have come out in support of Palestinians in recent weeks, we are going to continue building on what we have already achieved, and we are optimistic that a future in which every Palestinian can live in peace, freedom and equality is going to become a reality.”

A spokesperson for the university said: “The University is aware of this incident and takes matters of this nature very seriously. We are investigating this matter now.”


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