Jewish students at east London university 'subjected to Hitler jokes and threats of violence' by other students

2 December 2023, 11:35

Queen Mary University of London
Queen Mary University of London. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Jewish students at a prominent east London university are said to have been taunted with jokes about Hitler and the Holocaust.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

A letter sent on behalf of Jewish students at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) by a law firm claims that students joked about a "Hitler reboot card" in a chat during an online lecture.

Someone else made a joke about "Hitler's gas bill", the letter sent by Mishcon de Reya claims.

These were among dozens of complaints of anti-Semitism, the Times reported citing the letter. QMUL said it took every report seriously.

Other alleged incidents included a WhatsApp message threatening Jewish students with violence.

Read more: Havering council u-turns on plans to scrap installation of Hanukkah menorah after sparking fury among locals

Read more: United against anti-Semitism: Thousands march in London with Boris in attendance and Tommy Robinson arrested

Queen Mary University of London
Queen Mary University of London. Picture: Alamy

The message, posted to a university politics WhatsApp chat, said: “We warned the children of Israel in the Scripture, ‘You will certainly cause corruption in the land twice and you will become extremely arrogant. When the first of the two warnings would come to pass, we would send against you some of our servants of great might, who would ravage your homes’. This would be a warning fulfilled."

The university's Jewish society received a message that said: "You’re all terrorists. Keep playing victim but you’re all going to end up in hell burning."

The letter claimed that QMUL had become a "prolifically hostile" place for Jewish students.

It claimed that "Jewish students fear for their physical safety, avoid campus, feel intimidated not to attend lectures, have to navigate physical environments festooned with hostile and violent material, require increased security for their events and for themselves personally and are scared to travel to and from events”.

Queen Mary University of London
Queen Mary University of London. Picture: Alamy

The reported incidents sparked outrage from wider Jewish community at QMUL and across other British universities.

Lauren Abraham, the president of the QMUL Jewish and Israel society, and campaign officer Rachel Moshal said: “To study on a campus where our university is continually failing to guarantee our safety and wellbeing is deeply challenging.

"The past few weeks have been really tough but we remain resilient in seeking to guarantee our safety on campus. We will not remain silent."

Edward Isaacs, president of the Union of Jewish Students, said: “These incidents at QMUL are indicative of the university’s structural failings in ridding the campus of antisemitism. Jewish students must have their experiences heard, recognised and acted upon accordingly.

"We need QMUL to take urgent action to address the litany of egregious issues outlined in this necessary letter.”

A spokesman for QMUL said: “Whilst we examine the contents of the letter we have just received from a law firm we urge all members of our community to report any concerns they have, including those raised in the letter, through the university’s standard report-and-support process so that we can address them immediately.

“We remain deeply concerned by the horrifying impact on innocent civilians due to the events unfolding in the Middle East, including the terrorist attacks by Hamas on Israel, the taking of civilian hostages, the continuing military action and the resulting humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

“We continue to ask everyone within our diverse and inclusive Queen Mary community to come together to support each other, with compassion, understanding and empathy for others’ pain.”