No, Mr Arkush. We’ll study where we want.

Jonathan Arkush, “community leader” for British Jews advised Jewish students not to study at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

LSE is one of the UK’s top universities. A member of the prestigious Russel Group, it’s renowned for students who wish to study Politics, International Relations and similar subjects. As with many other universities in London, it has a large anti-Israel student body and has become a hot location for pro- and anti-Israel activism.

Recently, the university hosted anti-Semite Richard Falk despite lobbying from the Jewish community, and Jewish students who attended the event were subject to vicious and vile anti-Semitism.

TOI partner in the UK, the Jewish News published this article giving further voice to Arkush’s advice. The tweet has been ‘liked’ and ‘retweeted’, but not by many. Sussex Friends of Israel and North West Friends of Israel, two grassroots campaigns retweeted and Jonathan Hoffman, one campaigner who attended the talk and was kicked out for “silently protesting” was among those who liked it.

But these people are not students. They don’t represent British Jewish students. In fact, I’m doubtful many British Jewish Students would view the BoD as representing them at all, let alone Jonathan Arkush and his comments. Someone else can research that.

Students had a different answer. The answer was no. The answer was “we will not be moved”.

Josh Seitler, UJS President, responded this way, promising Jewish Students that their Union “will always ensure they are safe wherever they go”.

We’ve seen an anti-Semitic NUS President, mock checkpoints, graffiti and much more. Why Jonathan Arkush thinks this is different is beyond me. But let me make one thing clear, to him, LSE and all those who think they can silence or push out the Jews.

British Jewish Students will not be ashamed. We will not be frightened. We will not avoid a top university because some people may not like us.

Pesach, the Passover festival, is coming up soon. In it we celebrate that God saved the Jews from the hands of Pharoah and most of us will sit around a seder table and sing Vehi She’amda. In it we say:

“For not only one rose up against us and tried to destroy us, rather in every generation they try to destroy us, and Hashem saves us from their hands.”

We’ve come so far as a people. Only seventy years on from the holocaust, we have a State with an army which looks after us. We’re free to practice religion across the world. No matter which side of the mainstream political spectrum you turn to, anti-Semitism is condemned.

We have come too far to give up now. We have come too far to let words push us out of academia.

If Jewish students want to study at LSE, let them apply. Let them show the world how great we are and that we will not back down.

I hope Jonathan Arkush realises this soon. Otherwise, British Jews need a new leader.

To put it in under 420 characters, Mr Arkush, my answer to you is this.

About the Author
Dror Wayne stresses the importance of constructiveness, believing that blogging simply to criticise is a waste of bytes and debating for the sake of debate is a waste of time.
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