According to reports received by the Tett és Védelem Alapítvány (TEV), several antisemitically motivated atrocities have recently been committed against Israeli students at the Budapest University of Veterinary Medicine.
At the International Open Day of the Budapest University of Veterinary Medicine on 11 May, antisemitic leaflets denying the existence of the State of Israel were distributed at the Palestinian students’ stand. The two-page handout describes Palestinian social customs, traditions, art, culture, and the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
According to the leaflet, the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, the Nakba, or “catastrophe,” fundamentally changed Palestinian society. The document says that the loss of territory, the establishment of refugee camps, and the emigration to the Gulf countries, Europe, and the United States have posed a significant challenge to traditional Palestinian values and customs.
The back of the leaflet also features a map showing Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, with Arabic as its official language and Arab population. The map identifies the entire territory of the present State of Israel as Palestinian territory, located “between Asia, Africa and the Mediterranean” and of “strategic” importance.
In March, a heated debate erupted between Israeli and Palestinian students on the university’s student Facebook page, Univet – Confessions, which is run by students and not the university. At the center of the controversy were aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian issue and the war crimes allegedly committed by Israel.
The discourse escalated to the point where Israeli students claimed that the site administrators had blocked their posts about Israel after a while, labeling those as inappropriate. In contrast, Palestinian students were allowed to continue posting about Israel. One Israeli expressed his outrage in a private message. “We are good Israelis when we keep quiet. If we ask you to delete content that portrays our country in a negative light, we will be counted as black sheep,” he wrote. The administrators responded, “yes, thank you for your comments!”
Some Israeli students have been called “land-grabbers” and “Zionists” in private messages and emails because of their opinions on the site, such as their writing that Jews are dying in the conflict and their own families are in danger from the rockets. This student said that he believes that the Facebook page in question was not set up to express political views, and If users receive antisemitic comments, moderators should be obliged to delete them.
The events eventually led to the administrators deleting all content related to Israel and Palestine from the page from 16 May onwards. According to their post, they tried to allow for “mature, civilized debate,” but this failed due to some “black sheep.” They say they are neutral on all political issues and are working hard to moderate neutrally, but they are human and will no longer tolerate abusive, hateful comments. And in the future, they will ban anyone who “chooses to actively magnify any aggression or advocate extremist views, regardless of the site.”
Additionally, in a third case, antisemitic graffiti was reportedly drawn on an Israeli veterinary student’s residence wall following the online debate. Above the graffiti, which depicted a scaffold and a Star of David, the words “fucking Jewish Fidesz” were written.
Photo credit: tev.hu