The Jewish daughter of Defence Secretary Grant Shapps has said she feels unsafe at her university following protests in the wake of October 7.
Tabytha Shapps, a second-year studying politics and economics at the University of Leeds told the Telegraph that she chose to drop a module about Israel after peers in the class described the country as an “apartheid state.”
She said that her classmates were “talking about Israeli apartheid and Israel’s agenda as a genocidal state”, adding: “As the only Jew in the class… I’m sat there and I’m thinking, what about the injustices of the 1,200 Israelis killed on Oct 7?”
Shapps also said that an anti-Israel protest on campus at the end of November made her feel unsafe after the march “quickly escalated into anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist chants”.
According to the Telegraph, Tabytha’s mother Belinda Shapps wrote to the university to raise the issue of her daughter’s safety and was sent a generic response which read in part: “The university has an explicit duty in law to take such steps as are reasonably practicable to ensure that freedom of speech within the law is secured for members, students, employees and visiting speakers.”
A spokesman for the University of Leeds said: “Whilst the university has a legal duty to support free speech, anti-Semitism or Islamophobia of any kind will not be tolerated and we do not support any views or actions which make others feel unsafe or unwelcome on campus.
“Our security teams are liaising with local police and the Community Security Trust to ensure our students feel safe, and we urge students to report any incident for investigation and action.
“The university is providing a wide range of support for students who are affected by the conflict and will continue to listen and respond to their concerns.”