The city of Manchester in England has just finished hosting another of those tiresome events where the Jewish state is compared to apartheid South Africa and students are urged to boycott Israeli products. A spokesperson even found time to be interviewed by Iran’s notorious Press TV.

The event was organized by UK Student Palestine Conference and it was an opportunity to gather students from dozens of UK universities. Apparently, the conference was a chance for students to go “beyond just being members of our Palestinian solidarity group and become change-makers – on campus and across Britain.”

Manchester is home to Britain’s second-largest Jewish population. But Manchester is also home to a large Muslim population and a huge student base. Together they have contributed to a wave of anti-Jewish sentiment, particularly in the city center’s university district.

Although I live and work in Manchester, I try to avoid the university area as much as possible. Buildings and bus shelters are regularly plastered with pro-Gaza posters. Palestinian flags hang from the windows of houses. Anti-Israel events are advertised around the campus. It is no surprise, then, that Jewish students in Manchester have long spoken of an atmosphere of intimidation.

After all, this is the city where Talya Lador-Fresher, Israel’s deputy ambassador to Britain, was forced to seek refuge after speaking to members of Manchester University’s politics society in 2010. Dozens of protestors gathered around her car, some of whom jumped on the bonnet and tried to smash the windscreen.

Manchester was also the scene of a distressing anti-Israel rally in 2009, an event so poisonous in its anti-Semitism that even some hardened left-wingers complained of the event being hijacked by the Muslim Association of Britain.

But anti-Jewish sentiment is not just confined to campuses in Manchester. Universities across Britain have been infected by Israelophobia. This is hardly surprising when academics push for economic and cultural boycotts of Israel, and students are permitted to invite anti-Semitic speakers, such as Hezbollah representative Ibrahim Mousawi, and Abu Usamah, a radical Muslim cleric who has defended Osama bin Laden.

Several years ago, three Jewish students publicly resigned from leading positions in the National Union of Students in protest against the distribution of anti-Semitic literature on campuses. The Union of Jewish Students called for a national inquiry. Since then, things have got worse, not better.

Take Israel Apartheid Week for example. This is when campuses in Britain (and around the world) are buzzing with anti-Zionist sentiment. As well as the erection of “apartheid” walls, bizarre street theatre and anti-Israel music events, pro-Palestinian activists have been known to harass or even attack Jewish students, who are helpless to stop these proceedings. But as Electronic Intifada boasts, “the failure of pro-Israel activists to detract from our activities in any meaningful way should be seen as a further sign that the debate on UK campuses is now happening very much on our terms.”

On British campuses, Jewish students are sometimes referred to as “Nazis” or are taunted by activists who praise Hitler and the gas chambers. Earlier this year, a Jewish student, who was filming a man making obscene references to the Holocaust, was punched and bitten by a Muslim activist. When the assailant was acquitted in court, Palestine Solidarity Campaign activists shouted “Zionists always lose.” This is the depths to which academic life in Britain has sunk.

Indeed, the Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, has spoken of the intimidation of Jewish students in Britain as “part of a long, slow, insidious process intended to undermine academic freedom and it must not be tolerated.”

Regrettably, it will be tolerated as long as academics and opinion-formers in the media continue to promote Palestinianism, a nasty anti-Semitic ideology which refers to the founding of Israel as an apartheid state built upon a “disaster” (“nakba”).

Palestinianism is very popular in the UK. Advocates are in the business of delegitimization, defamation and discrimination. Palestinian victimhood is exaggerated and fetishized, terrorism is excused and the Palestinian leadership (past and present) exonerated of any historical or contemporary accountability. In contrast, Israeli Jews are portrayed as imperialist bullies with no historical connection to the land of Israel or Jerusalem.

As things stand, the political will to protect Jewish students from the effects of this obsessional and reactionary ideology does not exist. Instead of protecting their Jewish students, academics and student unions are too busy pursuing the Palestinian agenda by promoting boycotts and divestments.

Jewish students are entitled to live and study without being harassed or called Nazis. They should also be allowed to celebrate their love for Israel without being intimidated or attacked. University managers have a duty to make campuses safe for everyone, regardless of their ethnic or religious affiliation.

So, no more hiding behind the bulwark of free speech. No more anti-Semitic speakers on campus. No more intimidation. No more bland and ineffectual statements about racism. A robust and unambiguous response to the problem of anti-Semitism on campuses is required, and it is required now.



Obama’s speech at the United Nations has rightly drawn criticism from some quarters of the American press over his curious comments regarding Islam and slander.

According to Obama, “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” This is a curious statement. In a democracy, a person is entitled to “slander” Mohammed if they wish, although given the current climate, they may pay for it with their life.

Shouldn’t Obama have said that the future does not belong to those who kill in the name of Mohammed?

After all, Jews and Christians do not kill those who slander their respective religions. They may be offended and they may protest, but they don’t riot and murder.

Unable to stop Islamic violence, Obama is appeasing it. At the risk of sounding alarmist, his comment also portends a dystopian world where criticism of Islam is made illegal.

This is bad enough, but the US president made a serious category error when he compared the slander of Mohammed with Holocaust denial. The Holocaust is a proven fact and is only denied by crazed anti-Semites.

Criticizing Islam or casting doubt on its founder is entirely justifiable, especially in an age where Jihadists are murdering thousands of people in the name of Mohammed.

Once again, Obama has shown his true colors. His appeasement of the Islamic world and his inability to robustly defend American values are lethal signs of weakness. Such weakness will no doubt be exploited by Iran and other Islamist fanatics who see a lamb, not a lion, in the White House.


New figures show that the Jewish population of Israel has reached almost six million, an ominous figure given Iran’s threat to annihilate Israel. But don’t expect President Obama to be moved by the possibility of a second holocaust.

Iran is on the verge of having enough enriched uranium for a bomb and yet Obama continues to argue that economic sanctions are working and that all diplomatic options need to be exhausted before military action is taken.

Obama is right to say that a nuclear Iran is unacceptable. But he appears unwilling to take affirmative action. By refusing to draw red lines, Obama is sending out the signal that Israel’s security is less important than the niceties of diplomatic talks. Soft diplomacy at this late stage in the game is not sensible, it is appeasement.

Iran, like Nazi Germany, has made it abundantly clear what its intentions are towards the Jews. It has shown no willingness to cooperate with the international community. The International Atomic Energy Agency has stated that the Iranian nuclear program is accelerating. The Islamic regime has also refused to allow inspection of its weapons testing facility at Parchin, just southeast of Tehran.

If history teaches us anything, it is that appeasement does not work. Monsters like Ahmadinejad view appeasement as weakness. He’s right.

Obama’s personal dislike of Netanyahu is probably a major factor in this debacle. Only very recently, the White House refused Netanyahu’s request to meet Obama at the end of September. This is particularly childish given the gravity of the situation. Obama is also irritated that the Israel-Iran issue is interfering with the forthcoming US presidential election.

But the re-election of one man is far less important than the emergence of a nuclear Iran. Obama’s dislike of Netanyahu and his fear of conflict are endangering the lives of six million Israeli Jews, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of Muslims and Christians who also live in Israel.

History will not look kindly on Obama if his prevarication and procrastination result in a nuclear-armed Iran. No political leader of his stature wants to be tarnished in the way Neville Chamberlain was after his failed appeasement of Hitler.

Obama needs to put aside his personal differences with the Israeli PM and get to grips with the severity of the situation. In other words, it’s time to fulfill his role as leader of the free world and come to the aid of the six million.