We are deeply disappointed by the significant proportion of students who have voted against the establishment of a Jewish society at the University of Essex. Jewish societies, of which over 60 exist on UK campuses up and down the country, provide a space for Jewish students to celebrate their culture and identity. The fact that some students at the University of Essex deem it fit to vote against that is quite simply shocking.
We were also dismayed to see comments made by Essex lecturer Dr Maaruf Ali regarding the desire of Jewish students to set up their own society. Ali, reacting to a news story about Israel, said ‘The Zionists now want to create a society here at our University!’ Ali has shared blatant antisemitism on his Facebook, including Holocaust denial, Israel-Nazi comparisons and conspiracy theories about ‘Zionist media’.
We will be in touch with the University regarding this matter. We call for a full disciplinary investigation and the strongest possible sanction for a staff member who has engaged in racist hate speech and discrimination. We are supporting Jewish students at Essex with the next steps they wish to take regarding this incident.