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Thursday, February 11, 2010

British police investigating threat to Ayalon

British police are investigating a Muslim student at Oxford University who shouted "itabach al yahud" ("slaughter the Jews" in Arabic) as he was being expelled from a lecture given by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon on Monday night. The student was removed from the lecture for heckling Ayalon. The incident was referred to the police on Tuesday.
Thames Valley Police confirmed on Wednesday that they had received a complaint and were considering a charge of racially aggravated public disorder.

A police spokesman told The Jerusalem Post they were taking the matter “very seriously,” that they were at the very early stages of investigation and that no arrests had yet been made.

The university has promised to look into the incident once the police have completed their investigation.

“Our policy is always to await the outcome of police investigations where criminal offenses are alleged, and to look at any internal disciplinary process after the police have finished their investigation,” an Oxford University spokesperson told the Post. “So we will await the outcome. We abhor racism but obviously now this is in police hands we cannot comment on the individual case.”

The Oxford University Student Union released the following statement condemning the disturbances at the event and distancing itself from the individual.

“Whilst the vast majority of the audience behaved in an orderly and responsible fashion, some members continually interrupted the speech and one individual in particular appears to have made a directly anti-Semitic remark. These individuals exceeded the principles of free speech that the Society upholds. They and their remarks are not representative of this Society, nor the vast majority of the audience. The Oxford Union will not tolerate this kind of behavior by its members.

"The president of the Student Union, Stuart Cullen, has launched an investigation to identify the members who disrupted the event.

“The Union will be taking disciplinary action against these members, in accordance with the Society’s rules. The president praised the work of the security and local police on the night and expressed his gratitude for their help, as well as that of the Israeli embassy, in coordinating the event.

“The Oxford Union believes in the rights of free speech and protecting our invited speakers' ability to express themselves in an orderly and disciplined environment. We further believe that our members have the right to challenge and question the speakers in keeping with the Society's expectations of good conduct.”

Ayalon had considered pressing charges before police began their investigation.
I would call that more than an anti-Semitic 'remark.' I would call it a threat.


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