Detective from Metropolitan police lobbied university to boycott Israel

Officer from Hackney and Tower Hamlets led calls for action against Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Reichmann University


Rocha called for her Chinese alma mater to 'sever ties with its Israeli partners due to the ongoing crimes being committed in Gaza' (Photo: LinkedIn)

A detective from the Metropolitan Police lobbied a university to boycott Israeli institutions, the JC can reveal.

Micaela Rocha asked students at the Yenching Academy of Peking University, where she was studying for a master’s degree, to sign a letter asking the institution to sever ties with the Jewish state.

After the JC contacted the Met over the comments, a spokesman said the matter had been referred to the Professional Standards Unit and was pending investigation.

Under police regulations, officers are not permitted to engage in any form of political activity other than standing for election to a parish council.

The disclosure will stoke concerns about “two-tier policing” at the Met.

During anti-Israel marches in recent months demonstrators have chanted in support of the Houthi terror group and called for an “intifada”.

Former home secretary Suella Braverman insisted earlier this year that the force has treated pro-Palestine campaigners with “kid gloves” while Jews are intimidated and forced out of central London.

She wrote: "Chants of jihad on the streets have been condoned by the police; advisers to the Met have been found to hold repellent views; a man carrying a placard stating that ‘Hamas are terrorists’ was arrested, while those who are flagrantly antisemitic are waved on by the police.”

Rocha, described by Yenching Academy as “a Portuguese national living in the UK”, became a detective constable with London’s police force in 2020, where she was attached to Central East Command Unit covering Hackney and Tower Hamlets.

Having previously studied Mandarin at China’s Nanjing University between 2013 and 2015, she took a career break in 2023 to return to the country and enroll at Yenching Academy.

Rocha remains employed as a police detective, the Met has confirmed. 

Writing in a group on WeChat, a Chinese messaging app, last month, Rocha said: “Good morning fellow students. This is the final version of the letter directed towards the Yenching Executive Board on our concerns regarding the upholding of partnerships with Israeli institutions.

"In this letter we request Yenching to reconsider its position and sever ties with its Israeli partners due to the ongoing crimes being committed in Gaza.

"We kindly ask you to read this letter and sign it if you support this cause. We are so happy to have received support from fellow students to sign the letter and our concerns.”

The letter itself, to which Rocha posted a link in the chat, accused Israel of committing genocide in Gaza.

"The Israeli invasion of Gaza has resulted in the indiscriminate killings of 35,000 Palestinians, men, women, and children,” it said. 

"Israeli bombing efforts have also recently targeted knowledge institutions in Palestine, such as Al-Azhar university in Gaza (which has been completely destroyed).

"There are no Universities nor libraries left in Gaza due to the State of Israel’s criminal actions. As a knowledge centre, Yenching Academy cannot remain silent against such acts of educide.

"Thus, we ask you to also think of this letter as a call for the maintenance of international education and peace.”

The letter called on Yenching Academy to “terminate all collaboration with Israeli institutions” including the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Reichmann University.

"Both universities have expressed staunch support for the criminal IDF and are explicitly involved in the continuation of Israeli colonisation, narratives of Palestinian dehumanisation,” it claimed.

"Reichmann University has also explicitly stated that it is actively taking part in ‘Community Mobilisation in Operation Iron Sword,’ i.e Israel's illegal war in Gaza. This can be found in the main page of the University.

"It is thus the obligation of Yenching students, alumni and staff to acknowledge and address Yenching Academy’s complicity in human rights violations through partnerships with Israeli institutions.”

The letter further demanded: “We request Yenching Academy's commitment to refrain from future cooperation with Israeli research centres and institutions until Palestinian statehood is respected and Israeli leaders and other participants in genocide are brought to justice for their war crimes.”

A Met spokesman said: “We are now aware of the comments alleged to have been posted on a WeChat group by a serving Met officer.

“The officer, previously attached to Central East Command Unit covering Hackney and Tower Hamlets, is currently on a career break since 2023.

“This matter has been referred to the Professional Standards Unit, who will investigate the comments in line with the officer’s current position.

“We would like to remind all officers that they are expected to remain politically neutral whilst performing as a serving police officer.”

Micaela Rocha did not respond to a request for comment.

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