Three Jewish students at Cambridge University in Britain say they were violently attacked by members of a university drinking club and that the university covered up the results of an investigation into the matter.
The incident late last month was first reported on Saturday by the British daily newspaper The Telegraph.
The students said they walked into a graduate student union bar on Mill Lane, Cambridge, but discovered that it had been rented out by the sporting societies of Christ’s College.
One of the students, identified as Shlomo Roiter-Jesner, 25, said that when the students at the bar noticed their kippot, they got “more physical and more vocal.”
“All of a sudden they were shouting: ‘Jew, get f—— out of here.’ We tried to leave but they were yelling at us,” he told the Telegraph.
A second unnamed student told the newspaper that the “vicious anti-Semitic slurs” included “‘f—— Jew, you don’t belong here,’ ‘dirty Jew,’ ‘f— off, darkie.’” He added that they then tried to choke one of his friends with his own scarf and threatened physical harm to all three of them.
There were witnesses to the incident, and a closed-circuit security video of the incident, which did not include a sound recording, according to the Telegraph.
Following a university inquiry, Roiter-Jesner last week received a response from Professor Jane Stapleton, master of Christ’s College at Cambridge: “The internal disciplinary process of the tutors is now concluded and two students have been disciplined. Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention,” she wrote.
But the students were not found to have acted out of anti-Semitism, a fact that drew criticism from Roiter-Jesner.
“The college has not confronted the issue at all,” he said, according to the report. “They have brushed it under the carpet.”
Stapleton responded in a statement to the Telegraph, saying: “The internal investigation did succeed in identifying two Christ’s students who admitted using foul language and participating in a scuffle but they denied initiating the physical hostility and denied using any anti-Semitic or racist language. In relation to the former they were disciplined.”
She added: “I reject categorically that Christ’s has engaged in a cover-up on this matter.”
The Jewish Chronicle news site reported Monday that Stapleton wrote a message to stuff, students, and alumni of the college in which she denied there had been any hushing up of the attack.
“You may have seen stories in the press today alleging that the College has covered up an incident of alleged antisemitism,” she reportedly wrote. “I want to assure you that the college and I personally condemn in the strongest possible terms anti-Semitic, racist or any other form of discriminatory abuse, and that uncompromising disciplinary action would be taken if any substantiated evidence comes to light that a Member of Christ’s engaged in such conduct.
“At this point the college has no corroborating evidence that any of its students has been involved in such behavior.
“I also want to assure you personally that I would not tolerate any covering up of such behavior and I have strongly rejected that allegation,” she added.
In a statement to the Jewish Chronicle, the Union of Jewish Students said: “No Jewish student should have to experience what these students have described, and the fact that this disgraceful incident happened at the University of Cambridge only proves that anti-Semitism can rear its ugly head on any campus.
“There should be zero tolerance towards the vile abuse that these three Jewish students received, but once again this is another example of anti-Semitism not being taken as seriously as it should be.
“Although we welcome Christ College’s decision to discipline two of the perpetrators, it is vital that the college is transparent in its processes.”