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    Hey guys,

    I'm really considering going to SOAS, so I have been looking into all the things concerning SOAS, but the one thing I couldn't wrap my mind around was the rumour/saying, that SOAS and the students at SOAS are somewhat anti semitic, and there are often anti-Israel protests at the uni. Is this true? Thanks in advance!
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    (Original post by JohnGreek)
    Oh this is going to be a great thread. Subbed.
    How come? Why would this be a great thread? Sorry, I don't quite understand.
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    (Original post by JamestheGreat)
    Hey guys,

    I'm really considering going to SOAS, so I have been looking into all the things concerning SOAS, but the one thing I couldn't wrap my mind around was the rumour/saying, that SOAS and the students at SOAS are somewhat anti semitic, and there are often anti-Israel protests at the uni. Is this true? Thanks in advance!
    Hey,
    Maybe I can shed some light on this as I currently go to SOAS. While no one will openly admit there is antisemitism in SOAS, and to an extent that's true, there's no denying it's not a comfortable place for Jewish students. I can list a few examples:
    - On one of the induction days the Palestinian society was handing out leaflets of the "facts" of the conflict between Israel/Palestine which were horrendously one sided, furthermore ONLY the Palestine society was present that day.
    - Some of my friends went to a talk from an Israeli speaker and were harassed and pushed as they tried to listen (I'm not sure if this is directly SOAS, but SOAS people were present).
    - A lecture of mine shared an anecdote about a Palestinian poet who was killed when the Israelis denied him medicine, yet this poet I later found out died of a heart attack in Houston, Texas... nothing to do with Israel.
    - The Palestine society decided to hold an event where they would define what antisemitism was, ie. without the consultation of any members of the Jewish Society, and as far as I'm aware, without the JSOC's approval. I'm not sure if this event went ahead as there was some controversy around this.
    - The SOAS SU has officially endorsed the BDS campaign, but that's not really relevant as the SU has no power in that regard.

    Now with that being said, the Jewish society is one of the most active societies in SOAS, and recently there was a Chanukah stall outside the main building - what I'm saying is that there is no direct antisemitism, but what would usually be legitimate criticism of Israel often turns into something more serious, leading to antisemitism on occasion. Hope this helps

    (I'm on BA Hebrew and Arabic so I try to be impartial haha)
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    (Original post by Joe~ISR)
    Hey,
    Maybe I can shed some light on this as I currently go to SOAS. While no one will openly admit there is antisemitism in SOAS, and to an extent that's true, there's no denying it's not a comfortable place for Jewish students. I can list a few examples:
    - On one of the induction days the Palestinian society was handing out leaflets of the "facts" of the conflict between Israel/Palestine which were horrendously one sided, furthermore ONLY the Palestine society was present that day.
    - Some of my friends went to a talk from an Israeli speaker and were harassed and pushed as they tried to listen (I'm not sure if this is directly SOAS, but SOAS people were present).
    - A lecture of mine shared an anecdote about a Palestinian poet who was killed when the Israelis denied him medicine, yet this poet I later found out died of a heart attack in Houston, Texas... nothing to do with Israel.
    - The Palestine society decided to hold an event where they would define what antisemitism was, ie. without the consultation of any members of the Jewish Society, and as far as I'm aware, without the JSOC's approval. I'm not sure if this event went ahead as there was some controversy around this.
    - The SOAS SU has officially endorsed the BDS campaign, but that's not really relevant as the SU has no power in that regard.

    Now with that being said, the Jewish society is one of the most active societies in SOAS, and recently there was a Chanukah stall outside the main building - what I'm saying is that there is no direct antisemitism, but what would usually be legitimate criticism of Israel often turns into something more serious, leading to antisemitism on occasion. Hope this helps

    (I'm on BA Hebrew and Arabic so I try to be impartial haha)
    Hey

    Thank you for your answer! Yeah, Hebrew and Arabic is an amazing combo, but it's hard to stay impartial in such an issue . Thankfully, I have applied for Chinese and International Relations, so I won't have any classes or lecturers that will have to deal with this issue... I hope. Maybe I can try and be a bit distant from this on campus, right?

    And it's good to hear that the Jewish Society is active! I was quite worried that I would be the only Jewish student on campus or something . But what you have described, is, I guess, present on every campus in one way or another, so SOAS isn't too bad. Especially given how political the uni is...

    Anyway, thank you for your answer!
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    From what I can see it's not anti-semitism, it's anti-zionism... the Palestine conflict is very real.

    I have nothing against Jews, there are not many around my area but I wouldn't have a problem if there were... but I'm a strong believer in Palestinian freedom and the issues that the Zionists have caused over there are very very real.
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    Sure, most of the problem with SOAS and it's reputation comes from aggressive anti-Zionism, which does also sometimes spill over into antisemitism although probably not deliberately. It is more like Jews and others who have beliefs about Israel (which is expected) do not feel comfortable to share them or have a debate because of the aggressive and violent nature of SOAS' anti Zionism, making some students feel unwelcome and uncomfortable.

    But blatantly anti Semitic?? I wouldn't say so, and attending is excellent if you're looking to specialise in Asia and Africa - all my teaching has been great etc.
 
 
 
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