TEL AVIV – Dozens of anti-Israel protesters stormed a pro-Israel event last week at London’s University College London (UCL) and allegedly assaulted two women, one of the victims claimed.
According to Devora Khafi, the campus director of Israel advocacy group StandWithUs UK, the protesters “weren’t afraid to hurt girls.” Khafi was outside registering attendees for a lecture by Israeli activist and former IDF soldier Hen Mazzig when a group of about 40-50 protesters showed up, the Jewish Chronicle reported.
One of them pushed her against the door and blocked her there for two minutes.
“Her back was to me and she was pressing me against the door. She didn’t move,” Khafi recounted.
“I was feeling very claustrophobic. I managed to get outside the building where I had a bit of a panic attack. It was the feeling of claustrophobia – that was really terrible,” she added.
Another female student — Liora Cadranel, co-president of the UCL Israel Society — “was [also] assaulted,” Khafi told the JC. “She got pushed by a man. She’s okay, but shaken up.”
During the event itself, Khafi said, “Two men managed to open a window and get into the room. They jumped over two girls sitting there, who were very shocked.”
“I go to a lot of Israel events. This one was very different,” she said. “These people are not afraid to do anything. It was unbelievable. This was the worst experience I’ve ever had at an Israel event on campus.”
Police were called to break up the violent protesters, but according to Khafi, “more police should have been called to escort us out.”
“I felt many there truly enjoyed making us feel scared,” she added.
Jewish and Israel advocacy groups have called for an investigation of the incident.
Dr. Shimon Samuels, director for international relations at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, wrote a letter sent Monday to UCL’s vice-chancellor, saying that the protest was “redolent of a 1930s Nazi storm-trooper ‘pogrom,’ or of budding Jihadi volunteers serving ISIS on a British university campus,” the Algemeiner reported.
“The thugs first attacked female students on their way to the event. … Their screams, ‘Intifada, Intifada, from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,’ bore witness to their violent intent in championing the cause of a ‘Palestine’ built on the ruins of the state of Israel,” Samuels wrote.
Police officers told attendees of Mezzig’s lecture not to leave the room without security due to rioters’ increasing violence outside. Footage of the event shows pro-Israel activists being escorted out, amid chants of, “Shame! Shame! Shame!”
UCL’s student union claimed the protest was legitimate, writing in a statement that while they do not “condone acts of intimidation or violence under any circumstances … the protest was nonviolent.”
Earlier this year, a lecture by the former head of the Shin Bet security agency Ami Ayalon at King’s College London turned violent when more than 200 demonstrators stormed the room. According to the Algemeiner, one rioter was later found guilty of assaulting a Jewish student.