Jewish students allegedly assaulted at Labour Rally in Bristol

The students claimed that antisemitic slurs were hurled at them by several Corbyn supporters, and attempts were made to take their placards.

Jewish students from Bristol University protest against Labour antisemitism during a pro-Jeremy Corbyn election rally in the College Green.  (photo credit: SERB SULTAN)
Jewish students from Bristol University protest against Labour antisemitism during a pro-Jeremy Corbyn election rally in the College Green.
(photo credit: SERB SULTAN)
A small group of Jewish students from Bristol University have charged that they were verbally assaulted with antisemitic slurs by several UK Labour supporters at a rally in Bristol on Monday.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, third-year student Seb Sultan said that a small group of Jewish students “decided to protest at a Jeremy Corbyn rally... in order to highlight the antisemitism in the Labour party.”
He said that although they had a number of constructive conversations, they were also met by a torrent of antisemitic abuse from some of the attendees at the rally.
Sultan said there were about 20 Jewish students from the university who had come out to protest.
“Some of the things we were called were, ‘a filthy zio,’ ‘a puppet of the Zionist lobby,’ ‘selfish’ for caring about antisemitism,” he said, adding that they were also “repeatedly asked who was paying us to be there, whether we were Tory operatives…[and] we were repeatedly asked to apologize for, or justify [the] actions of the Israeli state, just because we were Jewish.”
Sultan claimed that he had also “faced two physical attacks with people trying to wrestle my placard from me, leaving me very shaken up... We were of course aware that antisemitism was a serious issue in Labour, but seeing the level of verbal and physical abuse we were receiving was absolutely shocking,” he explained.
“There were probably tens of people saying antisemitic things to us and the scuffle in which people attempted to grab my sign involved roughly five Labour supporters,” said Sultan.
Asked how they felt during the ordeal, Sultan said they were “very afraid” and “felt extremely intimidated by the attacks... We were a small group of young students facing very angry people who were saying antisemitic things to us and were prepared to physically attack us,” he continued. “With the antisemitic verbal abuse we argued back and held our ground. We felt more justified in being there with each instance of antisemitism we faced.”
However, he said that when the scuffle for his placard broke out a second time, “we ran into the city council building after... as there was security there.”
SULTAN SAID that he has since filed a police report.
He stated that there is “a real fear among Jewish students and the wider Jewish community of a Corbyn government... Where we might move has become a regular topic of conversation at Friday night dinners,” he added.
Second-year student Emma Russell told the Post that during their protest at the rally “a small minority of the ‘Corbyn Cult’ were using antisemitic tropes to try and prove antisemitism doesn’t exist in the Labour Party... We were shouted at by older men who sought to intimidate us and restrict our right to protest,” she said.
Some of those comments were captured in a video seen by the Post with one man yelling that he was against the “killers of Palestinian people” and that he was not antisemitic but against “the Israeli government.” A second said they “were a disgrace to the Jewish people… you’re an absolute disgrace.”
Russell said that she “fears the outcome of a Labour government because Jeremy Corbyn has proved time and time again that he is incapable of dealing with antisemitism in his own party, how would he do so on a national level?”
She said that his rally on Monday proved that “he attracts those with antisemitic views, and his position empowers and justifies them... This would only be enhanced if he were to come into power, and the experience I had at his rally reinforced it to me,” she added.
Adam Kingsley, vice president of the Bristol Jewish Society, said in a statement that “while exercising our democratic right to protest peacefully against the rise of antisemitism in the United Kingdom, we were shocked and saddened to receive abuse from fellow students and members of the public.”
He made it clear that “this is a problem that goes to the very core of our society... We believe that people should stand together in solidarity against all forms of hatred, intolerance and racism, both on campus and in the wider society,” he said.
In a post on its Facebook page, the Bristol Chaplaincy also said that it was “absolutely shocked and saddened to hear about the physical and verbal antisemitic abuse that Jewish students from Bristol University were subjected to today at a Labour rally... It is a terribly sad situation that Jewish students face such attacks for making their voices heard about the evils of antisemitism,” it said.
A Labour spokesperson told the Post in a statement that the “videos we have seen online do not include the comments that have been alleged... Of course, if we receive any complaints about anyone who is a party member, these would be fully investigated in line with procedures,” he said.
A police spokesperson confirmed that they had received a report of an assault in College Green.
“The incident happened on Monday but it wasn’t reported to us until 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday 10 December. Inquiries are ongoing,” he said.