If university students are wondering what to do in their long summer vacation this year, I strongly suggest that they don’t pay £320 for a ‘work camp’ at an-Najah University in Nablus. Promoting awareness of the ‘Palestinian cause’, its website initially reads like a romanticised travelogue. But a further search reveals repeated half-truths, lies and myths about Israel.
Naive students, seeking a cause to show off their virtue, will eagerly line up to attend what is sold to them as a trendy cause. But Najah is not the welcoming and happy place it presents itself to be. It has the dubious record of providing a training ground for Islamic fundamentalists.
Back in 2007, Matthew Levitt, a counter-terrorism expert, reported on the links between an-Najah and Hamas. Najah also has form when it comes to fomenting terrorism against the Jewish state. In 2016, Muhammad Fakih, groomed by Islamic Jihad while studying at Najah, murdered Rabbi Michael Mark in front of his children. This appalling example is just one of many terror activities associated with Najah.
It raises the question of why the British Consul-General to Jerusalem, Philip Hall, paid a visit to Najah this month to discuss academic exchanges between Najah and UK universities. And why is the British Council funding scholarships for the same purpose?
Surely the mandarins who run the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) could have done their research on Najah? Do they really think it advisable to send children to be brainwashed at ‘work camps’? Do they think our students need to be exposed to the propaganda of potential jihadists visiting British universities? A quick internet search shows that Najah’s academic exchange with San Francisco State University is directly responsible for the rise of anti-Semitism on this campus.
The British Council certainly doesn’t hide its bias against Israel. Its website features a blog complaining about checkpoints without reference to the fact that these save Israeli Muslim, Christian and Jewish lives. The writer laments the lack of funding for Palestinian universities. But perhaps if the Palestinian Authority stopped using British taxpayers’ money, courtesy of DfID, to pay the salaries of terrorists held in Israeli jails, it might find that it has a bit more left for the higher education needs of Palestinians under their rule.
The FCO funds 15 per cent of the budget for the obviously anti-Israel British Council. It also supports programmes with two other Palestinian universities which are hotbeds of Islamist terrorism and which foment hatred of Israel and Jews .
So taxpayers’ money, via the British Council, is used to shore up the finances of these universities. Students at Al-Quds university, via scholarships provided by the British Council, can as a result choose to go to several UK universities, including SOAS University of London (previously known as the School of Oriental and African Studies), where Jewish students are now too frightened to wear symbols of their faith in case they are attacked. British Council scholarships to study in the UK are also available to those attending Birzeit University in Ramallah, where Hamas regularly wins campus elections, and students dressed in combat fatigues and adorned with machine guns hold rallies baying for Israeli blood.
Is it not enough that British students are fed a daily diet of anti-Semitism by Left-wing university lecturers, the BBC and mainstream media? At a time when anti-Semitism is at an all-time high, surely it is abhorrent for our government to be promoting academic exchanges with students from universities which glorify terrorism against Israel and who have a loathing for Jews running through their veins like mother’s milk? Do our Jewish students really need to be threatened and exposed to another veneer of Israel hatred – directly financed by the government?
We are allowing our universities to become increasingly bizarre places. ‘Safe spaces’ for those students who indulge in narcissistic identity politics are sacrosanct, yet any lie about the world’s only Jewish state is allowed to flourish unabated. The result is that Israeli societies and Jewish students are being subjected to thuggish mobs, akin to Hitler Youth, screaming ‘shame’ and ‘end the occupation’ – a war cry for the destruction of Israel.
And it is likely to get worse over the next few months. Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) takes place on various dates until April at universities worldwide. IAW promotes a contemporary Kristallnacht against Jewish businesses – the Boycott Disinvest Sanctions campaign – and is built on lies and blood libels. But this won’t stop starry-eyed British students attending the many events designed to propagate hatred against Israel and Jews. IAW is supported by the insidious War On Want charity, partly funded by Comic Relief and the European Union.
Jewish students and their supporters must be allowed to protest peacefully against IAW, but I fear for their safety. The expansion of Islamic fundamentalism through British universities threatens not only Jewish students but all of us and our freedoms. It needs to be halted. Until somnolent MPs get a grip, this dangerous trend will continue.
The civil servants who run the FCO and its tarnished accomplice, DfID, need to be reined in. The Government and the Charity Commission must do due diligence on the universities and charities which fund anti-Semitism. Otherwise the UK is at risk of descending into an impossible place for Jews to live, as is already occurring in France. Because all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men – and women – to do nothing.