On the first week of my degree, nearly three years ago, I met a friend of mine who had heard that I was going to SOAS. He asked – jokingly - if I really knew what the initials of SOAS stand for. The headline was his answer. I obviously didn’t take it seriously; I mean, after all, Anti-Semitism is a strong word, right? It’s the kind of word Jews tend to use very infrequently and only if a non-Jew makes a very racist comment. It is also, illegal. You cannot be anti-Semitic nor support racism, especially in a place like SOAS, right? Well, that’s exactly what I thought up to the moment I realised that Anti-Semitism in SOAS is here, hidden behind the modern, fashionable and so beloved ideology around our campus, Anti-Zionism.
Quote me: “Whoever supports Anti-Zionism, supports Anti-Semitism.” Yes, I bet you read that and said: ’I am Anti-Zionist but I don’t have anything against Jews, after all, I am not a racist!’ I am writing mainly to you guys, to the ones who are so against Zionism without even understanding what Zionism is, and to the ones who support the Palestinians, basing your ‘knowledge’ on nothing more than what you see on the BBC, without even considering how racist and radical the Palestinian leadership can be.
Zionism is nothing less than the dream and the ideal of the Jewish people returning to Israel. Zionism is comprised of a belief that Jews are a nation, and as such are entitled to self-determination as all other nations are. Palestinians included. But when students claim that Zionism equals racism, they actually deny the Jews the right to identity. Anti-Zionists deny Jews a right that they are all so ready to give to others, first of all the Palestinians.
The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) - or as some members of SOAS tend to describe them as freedom fighters (Leila Khaled, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine hijacker jailed by the British in 1970 for attacking an El Al flight) - from the 1960s onwards denied the link between Judaism and the land of Israel. Moreover, Israel never existed on any Palestinian map throughout the Oslo “peace process”. They also deny the Holocaust, update blood libels and Jewish conspiracy themes with their general incitement to violence. Yes, this is the PLO which is so beloved by students and others in SOAS who ignore and excuse the terrorism, Jihadism and anti-Jewish stereotypes to be found in PLO nationalism. After all, please don’t forget that Palestinians can only be the victims and never the bad guys.
The United Nations, that we all support and admire for their decisions and actions, passed resolutions against Israel that most of you support. These include the withdrawals of Israel from Hezbolland (South Lebanon) and from Hammastan (Gaza). So, how come when the resolutions are so against the Jews you accept them but when the UN passed a resolution on the partition of Palestine in 1947 into two states, a Jewish one and a Palestinian one, you are against it? And on the same note, the Palestinians, that students are such a big fan of, together with the Arab countries surrounding Israel, tried to wipe out Israel from the map when they started the war against Israel in 1948 because there is no place for Jews in Palestine. And of course, this is not based on any anti-Semitic reasons.
How many of you believe that Jews succeeded merely because of the conspiracy in which the Zionists, i.e. the Jews, manipulated England and America via their strong lobbies? This is a typically anti-Semitic narrative of which Hitler might have approved.
Let me make it straight for you, I don’t accuse any student or member of staff of deliberate anti-Semitism. I know you oppose racism, prejudice and discrimination. I also know, as you might have just realised, that you have been misled into thinking you can be anti-Zionist and still stay true to all principles you believe in. But to be honest, what do you expect when SOAS hosts events such as "Sharon: A New Hitler for a New Age" featuring British MP George Galloway, or when members of staff give legitimacy for suicide bombers or when the head of the SOAS Jewish Society was called a "fascist" and a "terrorist". What can one expect when the movie “Jerusalem, the Promise of Heaven", which states that "these people (the Jews) have no values or ethics" and refers to Jewish prayers as "satanic rustles and whispers" was shown in the SOAS Student Union's lounge? Take a moment and think about it.
Once I told a friend of mine a joke: “There is no anti-Semitism in SOAS.”