Grant Shapps
Grant ShappsREUTERS/Hollie Adams

Tabytha Shapps, the daughter of Jewish UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps, said in an interview with The Telegraph that she had to drop out of a course about Israel when classmates described the country as an “apartheid state.”

The second-year poli-sci and economics student at the University of Leeds 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 October 7th?”

Shapps also described how an anti-Israel protest on campus at the end of November “quickly escalated into antisemitic and anti-Zionist chants,” making her feel unsafe after the march.

According to the report, Tabytha’s mother, Belinda Shapps, wrote to the university to raise the issue of her daughter’s safety and was sent a generic response that 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.”