Lucas Maddalena / Varsity

Cambridge SU’s welfare officer has triggered significant student backlash after liking online content supportive of Hamas attacks in Israel, and could be facing a vote of no confidence.

The SU’s Welfare & Community officer, a sabbatical position that is elected and holds a salary, liked a tweet by Rivkah Brown, an editor at Novara Media, that suggested Saturday’s attacks by Hamas should be “a day of celebration”.

Cambridge’s Jewish Society (JSoc) condemned the Sabb’s actions, stating they were “deeply shocked to see an SU welfare sabbatical officer endorsing the celebration of Hamas’ brutal and incomprehensible slaughter of Israeli men, women and children”.

Speaking to Varsity, JSoc said that the Sab has privately “committed to apologising to Jewish students”.

But an SU insider, speaking anonymously to Varsity, said that “unless a very strong apology is forthcoming soon, there will almost definitely be moves to put forward a vote of no confidence”.

The national Union of Jewish Students (UJS) also called the incident a “disgrace” in a comment to the Telegraph.

The tweet liked by the Sabb stated: “Today should be a day of celebration for supporters of democracy and human rights worldwide”. It continued, saying: “The struggle for freedom is rarely bloodless and we shouldn’t apologise for it”.

The now-deleted tweet was released after Saturday’s unprecedented attack launched by Hamas, a Palestinian organisation of Islamist militants, which saw fighters break out of Gaza and kill over 1200 people in Israel.

“We condemn this abhorrent rhetoric, and the impact it has upon Jewish students in the strongest possible terms”, JSoc said of the tweet.

Hamas is designated a terrorist group by Israel, the United States, the EU and the UK, as well as other powers, although this is sometimes only the case for its military wing.


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Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant has since ordered a “complete siege” of Gaza in retaliation, cutting off food, fuel, electricity and water supplies. Israeli airstrikes have killed more than 1100 Palestinians, in a response that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said has “only just begun”.

Einav Grushka, an Israeli student at the university who co-organised an open letter condemning the University’s “vague” response to Hamas attacks, told Varsity that it is “disturbing and unfathomable” that the Sabb “publicly support[ed] posts” calling for a celebration of the violence.

She continued, stating that while Israeli students “grieve our friends and loved ones [...] those that ought to be supporting us in the university spread hatred and overtly support the massacre.”

“We’re already facing terror back home. Never in a million years would I expect this level of extremism to feed from within Cambridge”, Grushka said.

The welfare officer involved and the SU have been contacted for comment