For Immediate Release
14 February, 2022
On Thursday 10th February 2022, educational charity StandWithUs UK joined the Manchester Jewish Society to set up a stall outside of the Student Union at Manchester University. The stall was part of Antisemitism Awareness Week with the purpose of raising awareness of the rising levels of antisemitism across the UK and the rest of the world and educating the campus community about combatting antisemitism.
Students engaged in civil and constructive discussion with the staff at the stalluntil a large group amassed in angry protest. The protestors noisily demanded the removal of the educational stall from campus, carrying signs including, “Zionism is Apartheid,” whilst chanting, “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free!” – a slogan calling for the destruction of the Jewish State. Their aim was to make Jewish students feel intimidated and unsafe on campus. Home Secretary Nadhim Zahawi, when specifically asked if universities should investigate students who join this Hamas-related chant, commented recently: “Absolutely. This [Hamas] is a proscribed organisation… and they should be reported to the police and authorities.”
The educators who manned the stall continued their work, answering questions and addressing the crowds’ concerns. However, the protesters became increasingly heated and abusive. One protestor also called StandWithUs Senior Educator Charlotte Korchak, “worse than Hitler”, an extremely offensive slur towards a Jew.
They also graffitied ‘Israel = Apartheid’ onto the adjacent stone wall.
Despite this intimidation, the stall came to a close at the predetermined ending time.
University Of Manchester Friends of Palestine went on to slander StandWithUs UK with baseless accusations of racism in an effort to prevent freedom of expression on campus. As an independent educational charity StandWithUs UK is intent on ensuring that, for all of its programmes and activities, any and all individuals are welcome, regardless of race, religion, ethnic background, age, nationality, sex, gender political affiliation or socio-economic status. Our charity has explicit policies against Islamophobia and other types of bigotry.
StandWithUs UK has worked proudly and collaboratively, for many years, with Muslim, Christian, and Jewish students and community members who are dedicated to Israel education and combating antisemitism. We pride ourselves on growing and developing as an organisation focused on grassroots education and dialogue. Our programmes and activities are open to all who are willing to engage, learn and respect the rights of all people to freedom of speech and equality.
StandWithUs UK Campus Manager, Raffy Lachter said: “With the alarming rise of antisemitism in the UK, the stall’s objective was to help students - Jewish and non-Jewish alike- to understand, take note of and combat antisemitism. That an anti-Israel mob surrounded, abused and berated students who were participating in an event aimed at combatting antisemitism brings shame to Manchester University campus. Clearly University of Manchester Friends of Palestine seek to suppress debate and discussion rather than engage in peaceful dialogue.”
We call on University of Manchester to disavow the actions taken by University of Manchester Friends of Palestine and to reiterate Jewish students’ right to security and expression of their religion, race and nationality. We also call on The Mancunian to publish a correction to their biased and hostile report.
We thank CST, the UK Jewish security organisation, for their help in ensuring that Jewish students were kept safe from threat and the Union of Jewish Students UoM for inviting us.
StandWithUs UK Executive Director, Isaac Zarfati said: “We will not be intimidated from doing this important outreach or from correcting misinformation about Israel. Universities have a duty to ensure that their campuses are safe for all voices, including those of Jewish students and students who support Israel. StandWithUs UK will always be here for all students across the country to provide education, knowledge and support.”
StandWithUs UK is an educational organisation and registered charity which supports Israel and combats antisemitism.
Website:www.standwithus.com/uk Facebook:www.facebook.com/standwithusuk Twitter:www.twitter.com/standwithusuk For more details and enquiries, contact: Raffy Lachter, Manager of Campus Affairs 07889365494 Raffyl@standwithus.com