Jonathan Hoffman jeered at SOAS meeting


Jonathan Hoffman, co vice-chair of the Zionist Federation, was told he was "not welcome" after revealing his Jewish name at a pro-Palestinian meeting at SOAS.

Mr Hoffman raised concerns during the meeting about the presence of Bongani Masuku, a South African trade unionist who the South African Human Rights Commission have found guilty of inciting hate towards Jews.

Pro-Palestinian attendees of the meeting booed Mr Hoffman and shouted "Jewish" at him while he read out his question for Mr Masuku.

The chair of the debate, Tom Hickey of University and College Union, directed the panellists not to answer Mr Hoffman's question.

Raheem Kassam, of student anti-racism campaigners Student Rights, told the BBC: "The overpowering racist jeering as displayed by some audience members at the event is a stark and chilling revelation of what can happen when extremism is allowed to take root in universities.

"This man was first shouted down, then ignored by the event chair and panellists. Why? From what we hear shouted when he is speaking, because he is, 'Jewish', and 'not welcome here'."

A Soas spokesperson said that they did not believe there had been any law breach during the meeting.

Mr Hoffman's question can be seen at 4min 50 sec on the video.

NB: The facts of
this story are in dispute. Since it was published, the organisers of the meeting
have been in touch to tell us that they absolutely deny that there was any
“racist jeering”. In their view, the words reported were misheard. They say what
was actually said was: “Do you really want to know?”, in response to Mr
Hoffman’s question, “Why don’t you let me speak?”. They say that Mr Hoffman was
unwelcome because of his views, not because of his Jewish

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