Diplomat Ishmael Khaldi, an Israeli Arab and a Muslim, (centre in blue shirt) at his Edinburgh University address, which was shutdown by the Palestine Edinburgh University Students for Justice organisation
By Melanie Phillips
The delegitimisation campaign against Israel, comprising the obsessional lies and blood libels promulgated by the media and intelligentsia week in, week out, has produced this result: Jewish students in Britain are being forced to abandon their university courses out of fear.
On the Jewish Chronicle blog, Marcus Dysch reports:
Anti-Israel incidents at Scottish universities have contributed to Jewish students quitting their courses in despair, it was claimed this week.
Attacks have created a “toxic atmosphere” in which Jewish students no longer feel comfortable, a delegation of community representatives told senior Edinburgh University officials.
Among those who felt the need to leave was a former Edinburgh Jewish Society chair who dropped out of his course to study abroad, partly because of the fall-out from an incident in which Ishmael Khaldi, the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s most senior Muslim diplomat, was mobbed as he spoke at the university in February last year.
That incident also allegedly affected a Jewish postgraduate student so severely that she was forced to seek an extension for her dissertation before cancelling an option to continue studying in Scotland. She also left for a different course elsewhere in Europe.
In the most recent incident at Edinburgh, in October, an address by Israeli ambassador Daniel Taub was disrupted by chanting students waving Palestinian flags.
The JC understands that the stress of responding to anti-Israel attacks and campaigns has divided the university’s JSoc, with some members so apprehensive about the issue that a separate group has now been formed solely to handle matters relating to Israel.
One source said JSoc had been “decimated by these events” with Jewish students left “arguing with each other” and “scared” to defend Israel on campus.
The claims emerged after representatives of the Jewish community met university officers last week to discuss their concerns.
Members of Scottish Jewish Student Chaplaincy and the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities told the university bosses that Jewish students had felt it necessary to “hide their Jewish identity due to the hostile atmosphere at Edinburgh” and were now seeking “secure and safe” space on campus’ [my emphasis].
SCoJeC also reported a rise in the number of enquiries from parents and potential students in the US and Europe about the safety of Jewish students at Scottish universities. In the past three years, the number of queries about campus antisemitism had risen five-fold, SCoJeC said.
The delegation claimed the university was “failing in its duty of care” to Jewish students and had given “free licence” for disruptive groups to “repeat their abusive behaviour”.
While other academic institutions had taken on board the community’s concerns, Edinburgh had shown no urgency to tackle the problem, the group claimed.
“The university needs to be aware of the international damage that is being done not only to Edinburgh’s reputation, but also to that of other Scottish universities and to the wider nation,” a community spokesman said.
An Edinburgh University spokesman said: “We welcomed the opportunity to meet those who had raised concerns about this matter. We work closely and collaboratively with students to foster good relations and we want all of our students to feel safe and supported.”
Following the Khaldi incident last year, the university attempted to restore calm by inviting JSoc members to a discussion with members of the Students for Justice in Palestine group, which operates on the campus.
Students at University College London’s students’ union are due to vote from today in a referendum on whether to “condemn the inhumane situation in Gaza”. The proposed motion calls on the university to ban products from Israeli settlements and to avoid “complicity in any way with the occupation of Palestine”.
Birmingham University’s Guild of Students confirmed it is investigating a complaint received after an anti-Israel demonstration by students last week. It is claimed a number of Guild officers took part in the rally, possibly breaching the organisation’s own rules on officer impartiality.
So this is what it has come to. In the 2Ist century, British Jews are being forced to hide their Jewish identity out of fear for their personal safety - because they support the state of Israel in its struggle to defend itself against genocidal attack.
This disgusting and surreal state of affairs has arisen from what can only be described as the madness that has all but consumed the British intelligentsia and media, which portray Israel – the target and victim of Jew-hating extermination – in the deranged propaganda terms set out by its Arab and Muslim attackers. The result is rampant Israel-hatred, Judeophobia and Jew-baiting which is either tolerated or actively promulgated by a so-called educated class – including broadcasters and many mainstream politicians - which on this issue is in fact totally impervious to evidence or reason.
A case in point was one of the incidents described above, when Ishmael Khaldi was forced to abandon his invited address at Edinburgh University. He was called a Nazi and accused of representing an ‘apartheid state’ by a baying mob who unfurled Palestinian flags and screamed that the university’s Jewish society was a ‘religious club that supports violence and unjust behaviour’ before security officials hustled him away. The JC reported:
‘At one stage the mic was ripped from his lectern and a demonstrator shouted: “We don't discuss with the Ku Klux Klan, why should we discuss with this thug?”’
But Ishmael Khaldi is an Israeli Arab, a Bedouin from the Galilee who is an advisor to Israel’s Foreign Minister. He is thus living proof that Israel cannot possibly be an ‘apartheid state’.
His treatment at the hands of the screaming Edinburgh University mob was therefore not merely an unconscionable outbreak of thuggery but defied reason itself. As does the whole way in which Israel is presented in British public debate.
This appalling Judeophobic violence on campus is also the direct result of the cavalier indifference of many university authorities to the Islamic radicalisation and intimidation taking place right under their noses. Scotland may be particularly virulent – hardly surprising, since the Scot Nats routinely trash both Israel and the truth, as well as sanitising Islamic extremism – but this bigotry has also taken root in many other universities, where the authorities have simply ignored the recruitment to Islamic extremism taking place on campus, the routine eruptions of Israel-phobic bigotry and violence and the intimidation of Jewish students.
The silence of our political class in the face of what is taking place, not just on campus but in the incitement to racial hatred that now passes for mainstream discussion of Israel in the media and public debate, is a disgrace. But that, alas, is because so much of the British body politic has itself succumbed to this madness.
This is not a good time to be a Jew in Britain. To put it mildly. Sixty-seven years ago, when the true horror of the genocide of the Jews was finally laid bare, who would have thought that Judeophobic bigotry – tragically embedded in Britain’s ancient history - would take hold of the country once again?
For those concerned not just with upholding elementary decency, truth and justice but with the defence of the west against barbarism, there is simply no more urgent and crucial issue than this. The battle for Israel is also the battle for Britain and the west. In turning against Israel – the forward salient of the titanic struggle to defend civilisation - Britain and the west are turning against themselves.