On 6th April, Israel’s new ambassador to the UK, Mark Regev, visited London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and met with the University’s Director, Valerie Amos. The following day, Jewish students noticed red and black graffiti scattered across campus. In bold red, the phrase “BDS or else” could not have been mistaken. BDS refers to a campaign to boycott, divest from or place sanctions on Israel.
The graffiti stood out amongst most other anti-Israel incidents SOAS is infamous for because of its sinister undertone. “Or else” enforces the message of harmful or violent consequences, which Jewish students on campus feel threatened by.
Avrahum Sanger, a student at SOAS commented, “The actions and graffiti on campus yesterday at SOAS further contribute to the fear Israeli and Jewish students face at SOAS. Already students are afraid to speak Hebrew on campus, wear Jewish items of clothing or identify as Israeli or Jewish and further demonisation only serves to alienate both groups further.”
SOAS has not made any comment on the incident and the graffiti has yet to be removed.