A group of students at the University of Oxford are planning to hold a protest against anti-Israel posters that they say depict Palestinian leaders and students as terrorists.
Oxford University Students’ Union (OUSU) posted a video of the protest in which the group reads out a list of the 10 most common anti-Semitic slurs in the world.
The list includes the words “pigs”, “goat”, “nigger” and “cows” – in addition to the most commonly used term for Palestinians.
“Israel is a terrorist state,” one student, Emma, says in the video.
“The Israeli occupation of Palestine is not just a war crime, it is a war against the human dignity of Palestinians,” she adds.
“Our lives depend on it.”
Students in the university’s Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) department say the posters were erected by a group calling itself the Zionist Organisation of America (ZOA).
The group claims the posters are a reference to the group’s founding member, Zvi Ben-Ari, a prominent American Jew who founded the organisation in the early 2000s.
“We are very angry about it,” said OUSU president, Professor Matthew Gourlay, during the protest.
“This is what happens when you try to marginalise and dehumanise people.”
The OUSIU says the posters, which they believe depict the organisation’s founders, are offensive to many of the students.
“It’s an example of how the OUSUs views itself as a student-led organisation,” said Gourlie.
“If we do not stand up and voice our opinions we will be marginalised.”
Gourley said the posters will be on display for the next week, and that they are also planning to take their protest to the university.
He said it was “not an anti-ZOA event”.
Students say they have received death threats They said they have been receiving death threats and have been approached by people who have suggested they “go to Syria” and kill the people who made the posters.
“A number of people have told us they have seen images of the posters and want to send us a message,” said student, Rona Emani.
“They want to kill us.”
The posters are part of a wider campaign on the Oxford University campus to make the university and other British universities less welcoming to people from the Middle East.
Students say that the campaign is “anti-Muslim and anti-Arab” and that the posters do not represent the views of the university, the Oxford community or the wider Oxford community.
They said the campaign had been launched by a number of other groups, including the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and was a reaction to the rising number of anti-Israeli sentiment on the university campus.
Students from the HSS department also plan to hold protests outside Oxford University, including a march through Oxford Street, on Tuesday, September 22.
Oxford’s OUSUSU said it had received “many death threats” and the university has “no tolerance for hate speech”.
“This poster campaign was created to spread awareness of the Zionist organisation and its supporters who are anti-Palestinian and anti Muslim,” the OUsU said in a statement.
“These posters are an attack on the University, the University community and the wider community of Oxford and we condemn it.”