'Palestinian Solidarity' Support for Anti-Semitic Abuse
“Palestinian solidarity” campaigners in Scotland earned contempt from local Jewish groups this week over their support for a student convicted of racist abuse of a Jewish classmate. At the same time, a top “solidarity” activist in London claimed that Israel was behind the murder of Norwegian youth.
In late August, St. Andrews University in Scotland expelled student Paul Donnachie and suspended Samuel Colchester after the two called visiting Jewish student Chanan Reitblat a “terrorist” and “Nazi” while visiting his dorm room, then rubbed their genitals before putting their hands on his Israeli flag.
The following day, Donnachie posted a Facebook message saying “Victory to the Intifada” - hours after the murder of five members of the Fogel family of Itamar.
Reitblat said the attack left him feeling uncomfortable at St. Andrews. It is “fine to criticize Israel,” he said, but by attacking him personally in his own room, the two clearly crossed the line.
'Nazi' Slurs Repeated
Activists with the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign saw things differently. Instead of repudiating Donnachie and Colchester's “Nazi” slurs, members of the group repeated them on a Facebook group set up to support the two.
“The AshkeNAZI fake Jews are trying to take over the world,” said one commenter on the Justice for Paul Donnachie Facebook group, while another accused Reitblat of “[crying] like a typical Zionist baby” and a third said, “Zionist [sic] think they are gods on earth they will pay for that.” The comments, later taken down, were preserved on the Harry's Place blog.
In a statement after Donnachie and Colchester were found guilty, the Scotland PSC referred to Reitblat as “an American Zionist ultra,” and claimed that he should not be viewed as a “member of Israel” because “[he] has never visited Israel/Palestine.” In a different statement, the group said, “Same old song: US supporter of Israeli apartheid dishonestly claims to be victim of racism.”
Israel Accused in Norway Attack
In a second incident, the head of the Waltham Forest PSC branch accused Israel of being behind the massacre of youth at a camp in Norway. The massacre was carried out by Norwegian man Anders Breivik.
PSC activist Ellie Merton, who has led boycotts of Israel and has taken part in pro-Hamas trips to Gaza, claimed on her Facebook page that the massacre was “an Israeli government sponsored operation.” When challenged, she repeated her views in further detail. “Mossad would want to capitalise on this kind of convenient, sympathetic to them terrorist activity,” she said.
The Palestinian Solidarity Campaign later said that Merton's views did not reflect those of the PSC, but declined to remove her as a PSC chairman.
British Jews Condemn
The support for Donnachie and Colchester's abuse led to harsh criticism from the Board of Deputies of British Jews. The PSC's anti-Israel activity is “infused with anti-Semitism,” said the board.
President Vivian Wineman said the PSC has been “totally discredited” by recent campaigns.