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Omar Chowdhury's campaign ad

Omar Chowdhury, the black, minority and ethnic officer at the UK’s Bristol University’s student union, elected on a promise of “zero tolerance on racism,” last week couldn’t help himself, and posted a response to a Jewish student named Izzy Posen, “You just always come with some hella smarmy, asinine [expletive]. So please, be like Israel and cease to exist.”

According to Metro, in a heated debate on the Facebook group Bristruths, Chowdhury told Posen his comments are “like Israeli settlements: always popping up where they aren’t wanted.”

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Izzy (Yitzchok) Posen, a physics student and the University of Bristol Free Speech Society president, responded that “everyone is entitled to an opinion,” accusing Chowdhury of “trying to silence the voices of women and minorities.”

Some Bristol students have begun a campaign to remove Chowdhury from office, as one Bristruths member put it: “I actually can’t believe that the incoming BME officer of Bristol student union told a Jewish student to ‘be like Israel and cease to exist.’ [expletive]! If they don’t kick them off of the student union committee it is such a double standard, Jewish people are repeatedly swept under the rug, people are continually allowed to get away with this stuff , we need to set a precedent. This is clearly someone who shouldn’t be representing Bristol students. They are being both anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic. It personally makes me so uncomfortable as a Jewish student.”

Another wrote: “For people thinking this isn’t a big deal: imagine if he had said to a Muslim student ‘Be like Palestine and cease to exist.’ There would be a massive outcry and he would likely have had to stand down already. I’m no fan of the current Israeli government myself but I dislike double standards even more.”

Sally Patterson, Bristol Student Union’s Equality, Liberation & Access Officer, wrote: We’ve recently become aware of comments made by our newly elected Chair of BME network on social media and have spoken to both students involved. We are investigating the case under the SU Code of Conduct (our disciplinary procedure). Bristol SU takes accusations of anti-Semitism extremely seriously and will investigate fully and confirm the outcomes with both the students involved.”

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