Ex-Islamist Extremist: UK’s Jewish Students ‘Bullied Under Guise of Criticism of Israel’
Jewish students at UK universities are “bullied [and] stigmatized…under the guise that criticism of Israel is not antisemitism,” a reformed Islamist declared on his popular British radio program Sunday.
Speaking on LBC talk radio, Maajid Nawaz — who now works to counter Islamic extremism through the Quilliam Foundation — slammed student activists who are supposedly pro-Palestinian for becoming “nasty” and “picking on minorities that have a history in Europe that we should be learning from,” a reference to the Jews’ long history of persecution on the continent.
Nawaz’s comments come on the heels of revelations from Jewish students at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, who, as The Algemeiner reported last week, said they are afraid to appear recognizably Jewish on campus.
A graduate of SOAS, Nawaz said it “wounds [him] deeply” that Jewish students at that university now live in fear. He noted that, among the Jewish community, the school’s acronym is wryly said to stand for “School of Anti-Semitism,” and in a 2016 survey, only 39 SOAS students “were prepared to admit that they were Jewish.”
“Something is going depressingly wrong,” he concluded.
Nawaz made it clear that he was not calling criticism of Israel or the government’s policies antisemitic, and “nobody that I have spoken to from the Jewish community has ever suggested [that] for an instant.”
“But,” he added, “something is going wrong if you become obsessed pathologically with only focusing on Israel’s mistakes and then you ignore everything else,” noting the dozens of United Nations resolutions passed condemning Israel, while violators of human rights are widely overlooked.
“Singling out Israel for a disproportionate attack; delegitimizing the state of Israel; saying that everyone else in the world has a right to a homeland, but the Jewish people do not; drawing a distinction between the standard we hold to Israel versus every other country in the world” is wrong, Nawaz stated.
Antisemitism on campus is not a trend unique to SOAS, but something occurring across the country, Nawaz noted, such as at University College London, were Jewish students attending an Israel-related event had to be rescued by police after being barricaded inside the room by a violent mob of anti-Israel demonstrators; at the University of York, where a Jewish student was awarded £1,000 in compensation for over two years worth of constant antisemitic abuse; and at Queen Mary University of London, where an academic participating in a seminar accused Jewish students of being operatives of an “Israeli Propaganda Machine.”
The rise of open Jew-hatred across UK university campuses has also caught the attention of British lawmakers, with one parliamentarian recently warning that the country’s top-tier schools are becoming “no-go zones” for Jews.