St Andrews student sentenced for anti-Jewish abuse

By Jennifer Lipman, September 13, 2011
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators outside Donnachie's trial

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators outside Donnachie's trial

A student who racially abused a Jewish student at St Andrews University has been sentenced to 150 hours of community service.

Paul Donnachie was convicted of racially abusing Chanan Reitblat at his halls of residence in March, when he put his hands down his trousers and rubbed his genitals before wiping his hands on an Israeli flag.

Donnachie, who was subsequently expelled by the university, also shouted about "a nation built on terrorism" and claimed "they are all suicide bombers".

The presiding sheriff told Donnachie to pay £300 costs but said that his behaviour was "too serious" and warranted an additional sentence.

The Blackpool student claimed he was a political activist. Another student, Samuel Colchester, was acquitted after the same charge against him was deemed to be not proven.

Donnachie was backed in the case by members of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC). At court today, his supporters gathered to protest against the sentencing.

Mr Reitblat, who was born in Lithuania, had been given the flag by his brother.

A post-graduate chemistry student, he was in St Andrews for one semester on an exchange programme from Yeshiva University in New York.

He said that the experience left him feeling unsafe in the town but added: "I go home with my head held high and can go on with my life and my studies."

He also said he would donate any compensation money to "victims of terror attacks in Israel".

He said: "The money will be donated to the Fogel Family Fund to help care for the surviving children of the massacre that took place on the same day as the attack against me in my room in St Andrews."

Last updated: 8:28pm, September 13 2011