Student in Scotland found guilty of racially abusing a Jewish student

They placed their hands inside their trousers and on to their genitals before rubbing them on to a flag of Israel. It is also alleged they made comments of an offensive nature within Mr Reitblat’s presence, contrary to the Criminal Law Act.

They said that the Jewish student supports terrorists and should be held liable for putting up a “terrorist symbol” in his room – ‘pretty much,’ he reports, ‘that I deserve what’s coming to me. After they left my room, they went on an hour long rant throughout the hall about how Jews have no claim to Israel and that Israel is a terrorist, Nazi state.’

The students are associated with the Scotish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Full story and sources on Harry’s Place.

Dave Rich on the CST blog discusses the story too.

Joe Kane on Just Peace UK describes this in the following terms:

‘A minute or two of mindless student pranks has got the Scottish authorities wasting valuable taxpayers money on the usual zionist accusations that criticism of Israel is racist.’

UPDATE:  Mike Cushman, the man who leads the campaign to exclude Israelis from UK universities, seems to think that this was not racist harassment, and he hopes that Brian Klug or Tony Lerman will be able to get the defendants off the hook.

16 Responses to “Student in Scotland found guilty of racially abusing a Jewish student”

  1. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Joe Kane on Just Peace UK describes this in the following terms:

    ‘A minute or two of mindless student pranks has got the Scottish authorities wasting valuable taxpayers money on the usual zionist accusations that criticism of Israel is racist.’

    I see that Joe Kane, above, is using the Livingstone Formulation quite openly. The Sheriff quite clearly stated that he was satisfied that Donnachie had used racist words and actions towards Reitblat, and thus broke the law, and Kane plainly resorts to the old cliche that he actually made “criticism of Israel”. It’s clear that the truth is the last thing that Just Peace UK (or at least certain of its adherents) are interested in. Kane clearly never reads non-antisemitic and/or non-racist criticism of Israel by both Zionists and anti-Zionists. It might enlighten him if he did. Or hurt his head, of course.

    BTW, the writer of the Harry’s Place piece, Alec MacPh states that the “not proven” verdict on the other accused student is equivalent to the English and Welsh “not guilty”. I’ve always understood that Scottish law also has a “not guilty” verdict: the “not proven” verdict indicates that whoever reaches this verdict is actually saying “we think you did it, but there isn’t enough evidence for a ‘guilty’ verdict”. That is, a suspicion remains over the head of the accused.

    • Bill Says:

      Remember, kids! “Ashkenazi” (one of the epithets bandied about in the aftermath) does not leverage the target’s jewishness. Let there be no question as to why people don’t want to use the EUMC guidelines. As for the rest of the “antics” they were absolutely beyond the pale and worthy enough to get expelled and that’s only counting the boozing. Once you get beyond that, suddenly the worse of the behavior becomes its own defense for Kane and Kompany.

  2. comment is not free Says:

    I don’t recall Cushman et al being that upset when a Scottish court ruled that an anti-Israel demonstration was held not to be antisemitic.

    I do worry though, that an academic at a top UK university (LSE) appears to think it right at worst or defensible at best for a Jewish student to be subject to the type of intimidation that has been reported. His main objection to the decision appears solely that it was found to be “racially aggravated” and as such antisemitic.
    Perhaps he will advise his students how to hassle and harass “Zionist” students, (the student in this case was an American) without falling foul of this particular law.

    btw, I had to smile when I read the suggestion that they get a NK person to speak. I bet they would advise him to open his comments with “as a Jew………” (and maybe gloss over their attendance at the Tehran “Holocaust conference”.

  3. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    “UPDATE: Mike Cushman…seems to think that this was not racist harassment, and he hopes that Brian Klug or Tony Lerman will be able to get the defendants off the hook.”

    You know, I don’t think that the Sheriff, as an officer of the Court (the equivalent, it would appear, of a District Judge/Stipendiary Magistrate in England), is going to be very impressed by someone (Anthony Lerman) who is of the opinion that if only British Jews would be less Zionist, then antisemitism would subside in the UK. The Sheriff just doesn’t seem like a person who believes in blaming the victim, somehow. I could be wrong, but I think Mike Cushman might be better employed raising the funds for a qualified lawyer for the apparently witless Donnachie.

  4. comment is not free Says:

    SPSC have already wheeled out an “ASHamed Jew” (literally)

    “The judge had earlier refused defence solicitor Patrick Campbell to allow evidence from academic experts on whether the actions of Donnachie constituted an attack on the Israeli state as opposed to racism.

    “Due to be called was Jewish politics lecturer Sarah Glynn who was close to tears as she left court and told Reitblat’s family their actions were ‘scandalous.’

    “She said: ‘As Jews you should be ashamed. This is devastating.'”

    Ashamed? No way. Good to know that Jews who identify with Israel are finally getting some protection on campus.
    As Dave Rich notes,
    “It is perfectly possible to campaign against Israel, and for the Palestinians, without acting in a criminally racist manner towards Israelis (or people who are presumed to be Israeli). A genuinely anti-racist person or organisation, which Donnachie and SPSC clearly believe themselves to be, would take note of this case and rethink their language and actions. So far, they show no signs of doing so.

    I note also that “Donnachie explained to Sheriff MacNair in simple language his position that
    “the citizens of a country cannot be held responsible for the actions of a
    state”. It does seem, however, that Donnachie appears to believe that citizens of other countries (in this instance, the USA) can be held responsible for the actions of another state! But I guess the fact that the majority of Zionists are Jewish and live in many different states is purely coincidental.

    I see also that SPSC carries a picture of a member of NK burning the Israel flag. Perhaps they can get a Holocaust survivor or two to speak as well, just to prove that “asaJew” this was not, no way, no how, in contravention of the law as applied (which when read carefully, as Dave Rich does, does not rely upon or need antisemitism, so making the “criticism of Israel can never be antisemitic argument redundant).

    No doubt JJfP will link to Modoweiss for some enlightened comment on the matter.

  5. Absolute Observer Says:

    Taken as a general principle it is an excellent decision. One hopes that this case will also serve as precedent for the abuse Muslim students can face by drunk students who similarly “joke” about all Muslims being “terrorists”.

    In the meantime, I look forward to Just Peace UK fighting to overturn anti-racist legislation, or at least fight for an exception. Perhaps they can follow the example of the UCU

    Not sure I’m happy with the University’s decision to expel him though – seems the legal finding is sufficient.

    • Bill Says:

      I share some of the concerns with schools enforcing (or even patrolling) private spaces including Facebook pages (as they did here) and such unless it’s on the wall of a school-sponsored program, but to quote the US’s foremost campus civil liberties / free speech absolutist group “if you don’t want to get expelled having a picture of smoking a joint on and posting the picture on Facebook, then don’t smoke a joint and put the picture on Facebook” . And after the fact, public information, like FB comments, becomes evidence.

      But here, they stormed a dorm room. Not a private space. Oh, yeah, they should have been out as soon as it happened. That’s pretty much an established data point in the case as I understand it (I may be wrong). Urinating on the guys toothbrush “as collateral damage” may be “harder to prove.” But they had me when they crossed the room’s threshold. I’m all about due process but that’s sufficient for a drumhead expulsion from campus since it involves a safety / campus violence issue. People, including as-an-ashamed-Jews who downplay antisemitism should be ashamed to say that it’s ok to do that when the occupant’s Jewish.

  6. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    “Jewish politics lecturer Sarah Glynn…was close to tears as she left court and told Reitblat’s family their actions were ‘scandalous.’

    “She said: ‘As Jews you should be ashamed. This is devastating.’”

    Unlike Sheriff MacNair, at least one person involved in the situation clearly believes in blaming the victim. Serves him right, presumably, for being a Zionist. If he’d been one of those “as-a-Jews”, none of this would have happened. It’s clearly Reitblat’s fault that Donnachie has been charged and found guilty.

  7. Paul M Says:

    I think I see one of the problems: Donnachie and Colchester were under the impression that using Reitblat’s personal copy of the Israeli flag to symbolically wipe their special bits on was criticism — presumably university-level criticism, at that.

    If that’s criticism, it’s of the kindergarten kind and these two should be made familiar with a phrase beloved of all kindergarten teachers in the USA: “Use your words, dear.”

  8. Thomas Venner Says:

    The “Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign” are becoming more and more of a lunatic fringe group from what I can tell. Even people who are still relatively accepting of some of the excesses of the mainstream PSC are backing off from the SPSC – they’re considered to be pretty much poison to anyone who touches them, only to a slightly lesser degree than Jobbik or David Duke.

  9. rapha Says:

    ever heard of ASHamed Jews?

  10. conchovor Says:

    Joe ’90’ Kane …. It’s typical he’d condone this sort of intimidation, invasion and assault of the space and property of a Jewish student. SPSC are defending the rushing, uninvited into a Jewish student’s room and behaving like hooligans. I can’t believe Mike Cushman is so stupid as to try to defend this.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      “I can’t believe Mike Cushman is so stupid as to try to defend this.”

      Please, Conchover, tell me you’re being ironic! Given his behaviour at UCU Congress and elsewhere, he clearly _can_ be so stupid.

  11. Absolute Observer Says:

    Well, Mike Cushman did defend a person linking to a neo-nazi site (fact); Mike Cushman did post an overtly antisemitic article on a public web site (something to do with the number of Jews in Parliament or some such) (fact). As to the present situation, I really don’t think there is any longer a question concerning Mike Cushman’s stupidity (and sheer malevolence), do you?

  12. Leah Says:

    The fact that the website “Harry’s Place” was used as a source says something…

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