A mob of protesters responsible for the violent disruption of a pro-Israel event last week at the University College London (UCL) “weren’t afraid to hurt girls,” a female victim told the Jewish Chronicle on Friday.
According to the report, Devora Khafi, the campus director of Israel advocacy group StandWithUs UK, said she was registering attendees outside the room in which a lecture by Israeli activist and former IDF soldier Hen Mazzig was set to take place, when “all of a sudden, about 40-50 protesters appeared in front of us.”
They approached and I was pushed against the doors by one of them — a girl. I was held there for about two minutes. Her back was to me and she was pressing me against the door. She didn’t move. Then her friend came and she moved. She took a step forward, but she still stood in front of me the whole time.
Khafi said she was able to make her way outside, where she “had a bit of a panic attack. It was the feeling of claustrophobia — that was really terrible.”
Another female student — Liora Cadranel, co-president of the UCL Israel Society — “was [also] assaulted,” Khafi said. “She got pushed by a man. She’s okay, but shaken up,” she said.
During the event itself, Khafi said, “Two men managed to open a window and get into the room. They jumped over two girls sitting there, who were very shocked.”
“I go to a lot of Israel events. This one was very different,” she said. “These people are not afraid to do anything. It was unbelievable. This was the worse experience I’ve ever had at an Israel event on campus.”
Thursday’s violent protest has been widely condemned, as The Algemeinerreported, with Jewish and Israel advocacy groups calling for an investigation into the “disgraceful” incident.
Dr. Shimon Samuels, director for international relations at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, wrote in a letter sent Monday to UCL’s vice-chancellor — and obtained by The Algemeiner — that the protest is “redolent of a 1930s Nazi storm-trooper ‘pogrom,’ or of budding Jihadi volunteers serving ISIS on a British university campus.”
“The thugs first attacked female students on their way to the event…Their screams. ‘Intifada, Intifada, from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,’ bore witness to their violent intent in championing the cause of a ‘Palestine’ built on the ruins of the state of Israel,” he wrote.
As reported by The Algemeiner, police were called in to intervene at the UCL gathering — hosted by CAMERA on Campus and the Friends of Israel student group — after protesters stormed the premises.
Footage of the event shows police warning attendees not to leave the room without a security escort, due to a deteriorating situation outside. As attendees were escorted out, they were met with chants of, “Shame! Shame! Shame!”
UCL and it’s student union claimed in a statement following the demonstration that while they do not “condone acts of intimidation or violence under any circumstances…the protest was nonviolent.”
This was not the first time that anti-Israel protesters resorted to violence on UK campuses. As The Algemeiner reported, a January 2016 lecture by Ami Ayalon, a former head of the Shin Bet security agency, at King’s College London turned violent when some 200 demonstrators stormed the room. One of the anti-Israel protesters involved in the demonstration was later found guilty of assaulting a Jewish student.
Watch footage from the incident at UCL below:
(c) 2016 The Algemeiner Journal