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November 6, 2016 4:06 pm

A Firsthand Account of Anti-Israel Violence at a UK University

avatar by Joelle Reid

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University College London. Photo: website

University College London. Photo: website

Campus security officers barricaded the doors. The mob swarmed in on us. We were caged  in a room at University College London (UCL). Crowds of scowling faces were pressed against the window, pointing, jeering, roaring hateful words — their cameras flashing all around us. It was like we were in a zoo. Ironically, this time, the animals were on the outside.

We sat in a circle, facing each other — in shock, speechless — and awaiting what would happen next.

We were trapped. Each window and door that surrounded us was blocked by a separate mob of violent protestors, chanting, banging and pushing.

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What is one supposed to do in such a situation?

The rational thought in times of danger is to escape and run away. This time, however, the danger was on the outside, and safety was the circle we were sitting in.

Our time? We had come to hear Israeli speaker Hen Mazzig, who had been brought to UCL by CAMERA on Campus with approval from the student union.

It was clear that UCL’s violent mob was determined to shut down the event, and deny us our rights to assemble and speak. But we didn’t back down. This was more than just another University talk. It was about civil rights — our civil rights.

Security officials changed the location of the event — twice.

The protesters couldn’t be controlled in the previous rooms. And to make sure that the final room would not be flooded by the mob, we dispersed into groups around the university and then entered this new room separately, at different times, diverting attention away from us.

But this still was not enough.

Numerous students were harassed, shoved, slandered — all for simply attempting to attend a talk by a speaker approved and arranged through UCL’s student union.

No student should be concerned about safety at his or her university, let alone in a democracy. But at UCL, the walls of our “safe space” came crashing down.

As Mazzig prepared to speak, protesters rammed the window open and dived into our room, hitting two girls. After 10 minutes, these hijackers were escorted out; it was now time for him to speak.

In our solidarity circle, we gave him our full attention as he talked about his background and connection to Israel. And when he finished, we realized that our goal had been accomplished: we hadn’t let intolerance and hate deprive us of our rights.

Still shaken up by the events, we tightened our circle and began singing Hatikvah, the Israeli national anthem. Our tears soon turned to smiles.

Yes, we were outnumbered, and hatred swirled around us. But there was an almost transcendent spirit of strength that seemed to penetrate us.

After the event was over, a policeman warned us that exiting wouldn’t be easy. The crowds were still thick and angry.

Security cleared a path through the mob for us to leave. Abuse hailed down on us. Insults and curses were hurled. But, as we walked hand-in-hand through the hateful crowd, our fear had somehow dissipated. We walked straight out of the event, in a civil manner, without causing any commotion or disruption. We were the antithesis of the violent mob.

It turns out that the psalmist was correct: it’s possible to walk through a dark valley and yet feel no fear.

The author is a Fellow with CAMERA, and a student at Kings College London.

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  • Andrew Matt

    Ya know what, here in the US we have a candidate who would block these people from entering the country: Donald Trump. Any Jewish person who does not vote for Trump should be ashamed. I am sick and tired of idiotic secular, and sometimes even religious, Jews complaining about anti-Semitism and then not supporting Trump. Get with it

  • Brian Bryans

    Bless you and your group. You are all heroes to me.

  • jankel

    When I was a kid and teen in the 50ies, we use to wear a bicycle Chain (cleant) in the pocket of our jacket….We used our fist, generally…but the show of that chain was a Sign of Dangeroisity and Threat, strong enough to avoid us the use of it 99% of the cases.
    Now, young Jews used to be brought to school by Mom by car don’t know and don’t want to know that Life has to be defended and somitimes imposed…
    These weakness and cowardice are just disgusting and Ridicule!
    Calling for more curse and violence from a low IQued Mob (I don’t care about what is the average school result of these F… but i am not sure they are the Best of the University neither!
    I know: if a Jews dafends himself he is a Fascist. Otherwiuse he is a normal coward Jew! Let’s be both, but knocking hard, anyway?

  • mindRider

    The only safe space is the moral force from within combined with open carry. In short: trust on G’d and bring a big stick.

  • Judgmentday

    All one needed to do was to take dead aim and place a Glock 9mm between the eyes of one of the protestors. Then watch those cowards run like the hateful punks that they are.

  • Efram Paul

    I suspect the course would cover the harm the savages suffered when the Jewish heads repeatedly smashed into the innocent fists of the savages.

  • Efram Paul

    Of course, if the campus was in California, the administration would have given the savages a new course in the curriculum.

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