In a startling form of recompense, University of York presented Zachary Confino with £1000, and an apology note from the student union, after turning a deaf ear to his complaints of anti-Semitic abuse for two years. Confino, 21, a law student and former treasurer of the student union, suffered bullying for being Jewish.
Confino reports that the anti-Semitic incidents spiked from 0 to 20 in his second and third years. “The far-left say racism is a black/white issue. They seem to think Jews are fair game,” he added bitterly.
The university finally responded to Confino’s repeated complaints, claiming “The University is committed to preserving the right to freedom of expression while also combating anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and any other form of race hate."
"We welcome students from all backgrounds, faiths and nationalities in our diverse community.”
It confirmed that Confino accepted the apology from the student union, as well as the four-figure “token payment.” Although he is still suffering from the trauma of his experience, Confino is willing to put it in the past.
But Jonathan Sacerdoti, Director of Communications at the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, criticized the school's response.
“There must also be a commitment to fighting anti-Semitism properly, something they failed to do in Zachary's case,” he insists.
"It should not be necessary for individual Jewish students to fight lengthy battles with their university unions over the course of many months or years in order to have Jew-hatred dealt with properly.”
A spokesman for the chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, agreed. In a formal statement, he said he hoped the apology would send a strong message to other universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, that “there must be absolutely no place for antisemitism [sic] on our campuses.”