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Jewish Students Subjected To Increasing Anti-Semitic Incidents At Universities

'Slaughter the Jews' was reportedly shouted at one university event

10/03/2016 11:50 GMT | Updated 10/03/2016 11:55 GMT

Universities are turning a blind eye to an increasing number of anti-Semitic attacks on Jewish students, a new report has suggested.

Anti-extremism group Student Rights documented more than 30 cases of anti-Semitic behaviour on campus in the past five years.

During one event at Oxford University's debating society, a student reportedly shouted "slaughter the Jews" at Israel's deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon.

In March 2011, an anti-Israel activist allegedly told pro-Israel activists at an event at SOAS University of London: "The best thing the Jews have ever done was go into the gas chamber. It was the best thing to happen to Germany to have been cleaned of Jews. The same thing needs to happen in the Middle East."

In 2012, LSE students played a Nazi-themed drinking game, which culminated in a brawl and left a Jewish student with a broken nose.

Last year, police launched an investigation into stickers found posted around Birmingham University which read "Hitler was right".

More recently, reports emerged of bigoted behaviour at Oxford University's Labour Club. The society's former co-chair stood down from his role citing concerns over members using the term ‘Zio’ – a word that Chalmers claims is “usually confined to the websites of neo-Nazis" - with "casual abandon".

Student Alex Chalmers went so far as to say the club has "a problem with Jews". 

 

It is with the greatest regret that I have decided to resign as Co-Chair of the Oxford University Labour Club. This...

Posted by Alex Chalmers on Monday, 15 February 2016

 

Fellow OUCL member Ella Taylor, who is Jewish, added: "I am increasingly becoming aware of some of the awful outbursts about Jews which have been made over the past 12 months. I am not used to eyes being rolled when I start a sentence with ‘as a Jew’." 

Student Rights described the incidents as "extremely serious" and urged universities to take action to prevent a reoccurrence of the events.

Rupert Sutton, Director of Student Rights, told HuffPost UK: "These incidents risk leaving Jewish students feeling that they and their views are not welcome on campus, something that will be exacerbated by the fact many feel their concerns about anti-Semitism are not being listened to and that they face the issue alone.

"University authorities have been unaware of the extent of this problem, particularly in regard to anti-Semitic comments on social media and within student politics, with student unions often left to deal with any complaints.

"This has led to a blurring of the boundaries between pro-Palestine activism and anti-Semitism, exacerbated by the failure of students and university authorities to challenge bigoted views, and by a culture in which Jewish students who raise concerns are mocked or accused of 'crying wolf'."

Sutton added: "Other forms of racism are simply not treated in this way and it is vital antisemitism is taken just as seriously."

The presence of anti-Semitism on student societies' social media pages is a "less-documented problem.. largely overlooked by universities and unions", the report says. 

Student Rights cites one example of a post shared on one Westminster University society's Facebook page which read: "Zionism, the filth Khilafah will deal with first to eliminate completely from the face of this earth."

The group says social media has become a hub of conspiracy theories about Jews.

On a King's College London society Facebook page, a post complained of British politicians being on "the Jewish payroll". Several conspiracy theory videos was shared with two Palestinian student society Facebook pages.

One titled "Jewish-Zionist Power in America" was a 15 minute-long video listing a number of fields claimed to be controlled by Jews, including politics, finance and the media. Another video was narrated and produced by David Duke, the former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and claimed there is a "Zio matrix of power".

The report adds: "The blurring of the boundaries between pro-Palestine activism and anti-Semitism inherent in many of these posts, and the claims made by students of a culture in which Jewish students who raise concerns are accused of ‘crying wolf’ is deeply concerning.

"Until this changes, and universities take disciplinary action against those students and societies involved, we will continue to see anti-Semitism on our campuses."