Leeds University J-Soc building targeted in antisemitic graffiti attack

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Leeds University J-Soc building targeted in antisemitic graffiti attack

Incident at Hillel House took place amid protests about a Jewish chaplain who has served with the IDF

Graffitti on Hillel House Leeds University
Graffitti on Hillel House Leeds University

The Union of Jewish Students has said it is “heartbroken and angry” after the Leeds University J-Soc building Hillel House was defaced with antisemitic graffiti “after an uplifting and inspiring challah bake.”

Photographs on social media showed how the main centre for Jewish students at the uni had been daubed with red-paint graffiti reading “Free Palestine” and “IDF Off Campus.”

“It is shocking and outrageous that those who hate us would stoop to this level,” added UJS and Leeds J-Soc in a joint statement.

They said they were working with the Community Security Trust and police to ensure those who committed the crime were punished.

Pro-Palestine groups and the hardline Islamist news site 5 Pillars have been among those to call for protests at the uni, which has a large Jewish student intake, after a Jewish Rabbi Zecharia Deutsch returned to the institution having served with the IDF in Gaza.

The hardline Muslim Association of Britain also posted a statement on social media saying:”Why have you allowed Zechariah Deutsch to return to the university as a chaplain after serving in the IDF?”You have a duty of care towards your students to ensure their safety at all times. How can your students feel safe with a war criminal complicit in genocide roaming your campus?”

On Friday, the latest protest under the title of No War Criminals On Campus was set to be staged outside the Marjorie and Arnold Ziff building demanding the removal of the rabbi and his wife Nava.

In their statement UJS said the university had “serious questions to answer” over the graffiti incident after it was claimed that a professor there had “deemed it acceptable to publicise the location of a Jewish building for the sole purpose of intimidating Jewish students on campus.”

A spokesperson for the University of Leeds said: “We are deeply saddened that our Jewish community appears to have been targeted by this criminal act. The university takes incidents of this nature extremely seriously and the safety and welfare of our students and staff is our number one priority. We recognise that students and staff across our community have been deeply affected by the ongoing conflict in Israel and Gaza, and will continue to provide support across our campus. We are working with West Yorkshire Police and the property owners as they investigate this incident, and have supported the UJC in swiftly cleaning and repainting the property.”

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