Europe’s university rectors called on to protect Jewish students

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Europe’s university rectors called on to protect Jewish students

Statement from European Jewish Congress follows attacks amid anti-Zionist campus demonstrations

Jewish students attacked by pro-Palestinian protesters on the ULB campus in Belgium. Pic: EJC
Jewish students attacked by pro-Palestinian protesters on the ULB campus in Belgium. Pic: EJC

The representative organisation of European Jewry.has called upon the rectors of its leading universities to protect Jewish student rights free from intimidation and attack. 

The move from The European Jewish Congress (EJC) comes as universities see occupations and demonstrations from anti-Zionist activists, mimicking some of the most extreme actions occurring across campuses in the United States.

In a letter addressed to the rectors of dozens of universities across a number of European countries which have seen such activity in recent days, EJC President Dr. Ariel Muzicant wrote that freedom of speech on Europe’s university campuses was a misnomer “if it champions violence and intimidation of Jewish students.”

He added: “Calls to ‘globalise the intifada’ or open glorification of Islamist terror organisations like Hamas and Hezbollah, or the Houthis of Yemen, don’t really sit well with a movement that claims to be progressive, non-violent and merely supporting peace.”

In recent days, Jewish students have been denied access to facilities and harassed by violent mobs at Paris’s prestigious Sciences Po, as well as brutally attacked at the Free University of Brussels. Similar attacks and intimidation have been witnessed in universities across the continent.

Dr Ariel Muzicant

Muzicant told the heads of universities: “The violence of language and harassment are always linked to an agenda of organizations that have one thing in common; the total, immediate and violent eradication of the State of Israel, home to half the world’s Jewish population and central to the Jewish identity of almost all their brothers and sisters in the Diaspora Jewish communities.”

He added that the radical demonstrations are the very antithesis of free academic expression and engagement.

“Not only do these actions glorify violence against Jews but they attempt to muzzle any form of expression by Jewish students, labelled Zionists. Demonstrators are instructed not to “engage with Zionists”, the antithesis of an enlightened university pledged to protect freedom of speech and access.”

Spanish Jewish community condemns the rising antisemitism on university campuses. Pic: EJC

The EJC called on the presidents and university administrations to defend the basic rights of access to education and the right to freedom of expression to Jewish students.

Recalling darker times when Jews were forced out of Europe’s universities, Muzicant said the rectors must act against these demonstrations and occupations because if they do not, the result will be the denial of access to higher education to most Jews in Europe’s universities.

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