Jewish student at top London university branded a 'genocidal psychopath' for objecting to Hamas attack

28 April 2024, 14:51 | Updated: 28 April 2024, 15:14

UCL student recounts facing anti-Semitism on campus

By Kit Heren

A British Jewish student at one of the UK's top universities was called a "psychopath, genocidal Israeli" for publicly objecting to Hamas' October 7 attacks.

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Romilly Blitz, 19, a first-year student at UCL in London, told LBC's Iain Dale that she was called a "brainwashed Zionist" for pointing out that the terrorists had raped and killed Israelis.

Ms Blitz was forced to leave the campus for two weeks because of her experiences, and said she had been booed on her return.

She had been in Israel shortly before the October 7 attacks, and knew people who were at the Supernova festival targeted by Hamas.

Ms Blitz said she was called "Islamophobic and racist" for speaking about the Hamas attack.

Read more: Outrage after Holocaust memorial in Hyde Park covered up during pro-Palestine march through London

Read more: Chief representative of British Jews calls for antisemitism probe into UK’s biggest teaching union

Romilly Blitz
Romilly Blitz. Picture: LBC

She added: "And it was also extremely hurtful considering I'd been working for the UCL human rights network and Afghan solidarity coalition for two years trying to help Afghan women and LGBTQ+ individuals gain resettlement in the EU. So I cared a lot about human rights issues.

"And all of a sudden people on campus are saying that I'm a Zionist who supports genocide. And I was sort of alienated from my peers."

Ms Blitz said that she had received a lot of pastoral support from her department.

She added: "I think the majority of students are nice, and I'm not trying to harm anyone or be rude to anyone.

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"But there are groups of students who are going out to isolate Jewish students and are going out to make our lives on campus harder."

Ms Blitz said that other issues at UCL that had upset her and other Jewish students include a push to rename the Student Centre after Refaat Alareer, a Palestinian alumnus who was killed by an Israeli air strike in Gaza.

Mr Alareer supported the October 7 attacks, which he called "legitimate and moral".

UCL
UCL. Picture: Alamy

Kathy Armour, the vice-provost, education and student experience at UCL, said: “We have repeatedly made clear to our community that all forms of antisemitism are entirely unacceptable and will not be tolerated at UCL.

“Where incidents have been reported to us, we have and will take swift action such as taking disciplinary action where necessary. After working with and listening to our community, we have also provided increased security for concerned staff groups and for Jewish student-led events at their request.

“In addition, through the work of our antisemitism programme manager — the first role of its kind at a UK university — we are also providing direct support to our Jewish students, as well as an extensive education and training programme to improve understanding and awareness of antisemitism and Jewish life on campus."

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