Essex University has suspended a staff member following allegations of anti-semitism on campus.
Around 200 students voted against the creation of a Jewish Society before the vote was pulled by the students union on Thursday.
Although the university has refused to name the staff member, computer science lecturer Dr Maaruf Ali was alleged to have encouraged students to vote against the creation of a ‘zionist’ society on Facebook.
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Mr Ali is also alleged to have claimed one of the police officers killed in Paris in November 2015 was “a Mossad agent live and well in Buenos Aires" and a "cypto-Jew" in a since-deleted social media post.
The university’s vice-chancellor Professor Anthony Forster said: “To see the University of Essex associated with antisemitism has been a deeply shocking event and one which has filled me with great sadness.
“Recent events have shown me we still have work to do, and I am announcing a series of immediate actions to tackle all forms of antisemitism within our community.”
Amnesty International comments ‘well intentioned but wrong’
Members of Amnesty International UK at an anti-Israel protest last month. Image: Getty.
An anonymous member of the university’s Amnesty International Society is also alleged to have encouraged students to vote against the society, based on the society’s proposed celebrations of Israel Independence Day.
An Amnesty International spokesperson said the comments did not reflect the view of Amnesty International UK or the university’s Amnesty Society.
She added: “Whilst they were well-intentioned, their view to conflate Israel Independence Day with the human rights abuses committed by the Israeli authorities is wrong.”
Jewish Society is ‘more Woody Allen than politics’
Speaking to talkRADIO’s Toby Young this morning, Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard said the issue highlighted a dangerous conflation between Jewishness and Zionism.
Mr Pollard said: “This isn’t an Israel society, this is a Jewish society, and this is a really important distinction to make clear.
“A Jewish Society is not about Zionism. It’s about people’s religion, their culture. It’s about having a very nice Friday night meal, talking about Woody Allen films and celebrating being Jewish. It’s not about policy or politics.”