A student at Oxford University has denied claims that he shouted at an Israeli minister speaking at the Union, using the Arabic words, ‘Slaughter all Jews’.
A statement released on Wednesday from the deputy foreign minister of Israel, Danny Ayalon, said that the phrase was directed at him during protests at his appearance at the Oxford Union on Monday night of last week.
Conflicting articles from both Oxford Student newspapers continue to cause confusion, with ‘Cherwell’ describing the abuse as meaning, ‘Slaughter all Jews’. The ‘Oxford Student’, however, published an article on Thursday quoting student Noor Rashid, saying he was using a specific dialect of the Arabic tongue that few people there would have understood even if they had a grasp of the language. The phrase he claims to have used, ‘Khaybar ya Yahod’, commemorates a victory by Mohammed over a Jewish community in Khaybar, according to the Jewish Chronicle.
Mr Rashid insists the remark carried “absolutely no derogatory or secondary meanings. My version went: ‘Khaybar, O Jews, we will win’. As you can see, I made no reference to killing Jews.”
The statement from Mr Ayalon’s office, however, maintained that “Itbah Al Yahud” had been called out, which translates as a call to slaughter Jews.
Mr Rashid claims to recognize he may have been misunderstood: “There was a great deal of confusion… I do acknowledge that people may have misheard me and assume that I uttered something else – namely to ‘slaughter the Jews’… something that I do not believe.
“I express the deepest regret if my remarks were misunderstood or misheard to mean anything that even comes close to encouraging the slaughter of innocents.”
The Oxford Union has launched an investigation condemning the protests and said: “One individual in particular appears to have made a directly anti-Semitic remark.”