The Union of Jewish Students has expressed its “shock” as more than 200 students at the University of Essex have voted against the creation of a Jewish society on campus.
As part of normal procedures, any proposed new society at the university must gain ratification by winning a vote on the Student Union website, open only to registered students. Recently ratified societies include the “K-Pop society”, the “Ted-X Society” and the “Pokemon Go Society”.
However, only 64 per cent of respondents have answered “yes” to the question “should there be a Jewish society?” which is currently being asked on the student union website, with 36 per cent over 200 students voting no.
A spokesperson for UJS said the organisation was “deeply disappointed by the significant proportion of students who have voted against the establishment of a Jewish society at the University of Essex.
“Jewish societies, of which over 60 exist on UK campuses up and down the country, provide a space for Jewish students to celebrate their culture and identity. The fact that some students at the University of Essex deem it fit to vote against that is quite simply shocking.”
Additionally, one lecturer at the university, Dr Maaruf Ali, has expressed open opposition to the proposed JSoc. Commenting on a Facebook post in the University of Essex Palestinian Solidarity Group which alleges that Israel plans to “expel 36,000 Palestinians from the Negev”, Dr Ali said that “the Zionists next want to create a society here at our university!”
Dr Ali, who lectures in the field of computers and electronics, has also shared highly questionable content on social media, including a picture stating that “50,000 Jews protest[ed] Israel” in March 2016 in New York, but that there was a “total mainstream media blackout by the Zionist mafia”.
He also shared a photo from Smoloko.com, a far-right fascist website, which claimed that one of the French policemen shot dead in the January 2015 attack by Islamist terrorists in Paris was actually “a Mossad agent live and well in Buenos Aires a crypto-Jew in the service of Israeli intelligence”.
Another photo Dr Ali shared featured a Holocaust denial quote attributed to Edgar J Steele, an attorney notorious for defending white supremacists and for writing a book titled Defensive Racism: An Unapologetic Examination of Racial Differences.
The quote reads: “In all of German Occupied Europe, there resided 2.4 million Jews before the war, according to the world Jewish encyclopedia.
“After the war, 3.8 million Jewish Holocaust survivors’ were receiving pensions from the German government.”
The quote continues: “Tragically, the remaining 6 million were lost.”
The Union of Jewish Students said it would “be in touch with the university regarding this matter.
“Dr Ali has shared blatant antisemitism on his Facebook, including Holocaust denial, Israel-Nazi comparisons and conspiracy theories about Zionist media’.
“We call for a full disciplinary investigation and the strongest possible sanction for a staff member who has engaged in racist hate speech and discrimination. We are supporting Jewish students at Essex with the next steps they wish to take regarding this incident.”
Dr Ali has been contacted for comment