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(photo credit: iStickphoto)
LONDON – A student at a Scottish university was convicted this week by a
Scottish court for a racist breach of the peace for abusing an Israeli flag
belonging to a Jewish student, who said he felt “violated and devastated” by the
The incident occurred at St. Andrews University in Fife in March, when students Samuel Colchester and Paul Donnachie entered
the dorm room of Chanan Reitblat, a Yeshiva University student who was at the
university for a semester, and rubbed their hands on their genitals before
wiping them on Reitblat’s Israeli flag.
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Reitblat, who has since returned
to the US, said that after the flag incident the two students, who are both
associated with the extremist group Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, went
on an hour-long rant in the hall about how Jews have no claim to Israel, and
accused it of being a terrorist, Nazi state.
“They were in my room for
just a few minutes. It happened very fast. Down the stairs I could hear them
shouting ‘Nazi, fascist and terrorist!’ I was trying to collect my thoughts. I
was deeply disturbed, humiliated, shocked and violated,” Reitblat
“It caused me a lot of anxiety. I feared for my safety. I
couldn’t eat and I couldn’t sleep, so I couldn’t study."
He said the next day he
saw messages on Facebook from Donnachie, including one saying there was a
Zionist in his hall,” he added.
On Wednesday, Donnachie was found guilty
by the court of racial abuse and was expelled by the
Colchester was suspended for a year, pending further
investigation and a court hearing that will take place next month.
over the case, Sheriff Charlie Macnair, said that Donnachie had broken the law
specifically because of his anti-Israel abuse.
“This flag was his
personal property. I consider that your behavior did evince malice towards Mr.
Reitblat because of his presumed membership of Israel,” Macnair said. “I’m
satisfied that you said Israel was a terrorist state and the flag was a
terrorist symbol and I also hold that you said that Mr. Reitblat was a
The conviction was welcomed by the Community Security Trust,
a charity that provides security for the community and monitors
“The trial and conviction are welcome, because Jewish
students – like all students – must be able to express their beliefs free from
the fear of intimidation or threats. In this case, the court clearly decided
that Donnachie’s actions transgressed the boundaries of legitimate expression,
and crossed over into criminality,” the organization said on
Calling Reitblat a “Zionist ultra,” the Scottish Palestine
Solidarity Campaign accused the judge of a politically-driven verdict which
“violated every canon of fairness and balance.”
The fringe group is now
organizing a protest outside the Fife court next month, when Colchester
will learn his fate.
“The logic of Sheriff Macnair’s ruling would be that
criticism of the State of Israel will be inhibited on numerous occasions within
earshot of Zionist-Jewish supporters of Israeli ethnic cleansing and apartheid
on the grounds that they are members of Israel.
“We call on supporters of
Palestinian rights, anti-racists, and supporters of free speech to assemble
outside Cupar Sheriff Court on Tuesday, September 13 at 9 a.m.to support
An injury to one is an injury to all,” the group said.