A Jewish sociology lecturer carrying a book bag with the word ‘schlep’ on the side has been told to “f*** off back to Israel with the other Yids,” in what may be the first instance of anti-Semitic abuse in the wake of the Brexit vote.
Natalie Pitimson, a senior lecturer at the University of Brighton, on Tuesday said the verbal assault was made on board a packed commuter train travelling through central London at rush-hour, but that no-one reacted, “despite almost certainly having heard”.
Of the bag, she said: “I bought it from the Jewish Museum in North London because I liked it. The word ‘schlep’ written on the side perfectly describes my regular hour-long trek through central London… On the train I noticed a lad and his girlfriend looking at me and my bag, which was on my lap. When they spotted me looking back at them, he told me to ‘f*** off back to Israel with the other Yids.’ Nobody else in the carriage reacted.”
Pitimson added: “I got off at the next stop, not even noticing that I was several short of my destination. I was shaking and very upset. I thought about nothing else for the rest of the day. I have never been targeted in this way before but my experience, it is quickly becoming apparent, is not an isolated one in post-Brexit Britain.”
In the article, posted this week, she described feeling that the abuse of ethnic minorities has arisen because politicians for the Leave campaign “dehumanised” immigrants and “mainstreamed toxic views of ‘outsiders’.”
She said: “What we’re seeing is not really hate or fear. I don’t think the lad on the train was frightened of me, nor do I think he hates me. That assumes that he saw a person when he made his comment. And I don’t think he did.”