Analysis: Fear for Jewish students on campus

Jewish students are renowned for their positive activism, standing up not only for their own rights and to support Israel, but for other minority groups as well.

They should be applauded for their conscientious efforts.

But reporting their election hopes this week has, unintentionally, revealed a problem.

Senior figures at UJS, and individual students from campuses, contacted me with fraught pleas that the JC should not run the story. Many candidates initially asked to be included in the coverage before dropping out.

Their fears were, essentially, based on a belief that their non-Jewish colleagues on student committees would see election victories as a conspiratorial attempt by Jews to take over unions.

There was also a suggestion that revealing a student was Jewish could lead to an antisemitic attack on them at their campus. More than once I was told that those standing “do not advertise that they are Jewish”.

It would be all too easy to laugh off these protestations. The suggestion of a conspiracy, presumably matching those of 9/11 and David Icke’s reptilian humanoid Illuminati, reeks of paranoia.

Just last week we reported the NUS president’s desire to wipe out the scourge of campus antisemitism.

The sad reality, however, is that these are the real, deep-seated fears of our students, battle-scarred by years of anti-Israel motions and boycotts.

The wider Jewish community must support them. After their victories we must stand shoulder to shoulder with them as they toil on the front line.

    Last updated: 1:14pm, October 30 2009