Student rage at union chief’s views

By Marcus Dysch, November 5, 2010

The Union of Jewish Students has called for a student union president to resign after making apparently antisemitic remarks.

Clare Solomon, a religion student at the School of Oriental and African Studies, claimed that the persecution of Jews had been fabricated to justify attacks on Palestinians.

She was elected as president of the University of London student union earlier this year.

Writing on Facebook in response to a message supporting a boycott of Israel, Ms Solomon commented: “There is no such thing as the ‘Jewish race’. Yes, there is the Jewish religion, but not a Jewish people per se.

“The view that Jews have been persecuted all throughout history is one that has been fabricated in the last 100 or so years to justify the persecution of Palestinians. To paint the picture that all Jews have always had to flee persecution is just plainly inaccurate.”

Her blog and Twitter pages contain a number of anti-Israel posts and equate Israel with apartheid South Africa.

Carly McKenzie, UJS campaigns officer, accused Ms Solomon of “leading the pack in slurs and attacks on minorities,” and said: “We are shocked by the ignorant, malicious and hypocritical remarks. We have lost confidence in her ability to represent Jewish students.

“To claim that Jewish suffering is a deliberate fabrication goes beyond ignorance into real malice. Her remarks had nothing to do with principled opposition to Israel, and everything to do with her disdain towards the Jewish people.”

Ms Solomon said: “This badly-worded comment was something that I wrote in haste on Facebook. I’m sorry for any misunderstandings.”

She said she was “totally against antisemitism and any persecution and oppression of Jewish people”.

In September, Ms Solomon threatened to remove copies of the union’s newspaper and led complaints against the paper after the publication of an article referring to Jews as “tight-fisted”.

Last updated: 10:01am, November 11 2010