A dozen Leeds University students were gathered outside the student union today to protest a planned Yom Ha’atsmaut event on campus.
Leeds University’s student union sent a Facebook post yesterday informing students the Jewish society would be marking Israel Independence Day.
“We understand that some of our members will be unhappy that this event is taking place which is why we are letting our students know in advance,” the union wrote on Wednesday.
“If any students are concerned by this event, as always we encourage you to speak to our LUU help and support team in the union foyer.”
In a statement, Leeds J-Soc president Adam Grossman said: “UJS and Leeds J-Soc do not take a narrow stance on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and to hold Jewish students celebrating their identity to account for the actions of a foreign government is shameful.
“It is further antisemitic to deny Jewish people our right to self-determination. We welcome debate on the Israel-Palestinian conflict from all sides, but we will not change our identity to appease other people’s prejudices.
“Jewish students who continued their celebration of their connection to Israel despite protests are the brave and positive young people who will be a solution to the conflict, not create further divisions.”
Isaac Doel, 19, a first-year student of philosophy and politics, said: “The post seemed to single out the Jewish community and Israel.
“It seems to be an indication that Israel should not exist and that’s the way many people are feeling.”
“I think it’s perhaps a symptom of the wider situation in the UK of antisemitism rising,” Doel said.
Leeds University Student Union has been approached for comment.