The University and JSoc have responded to the attacks in Israel and Gaza.

Oxford responds to recent attacks in Israel and Gaza

The University of Oxford has responded to recent attacks in Israel and Gaza with a statement, acknowledging that ‘the news of the recent conflict is very upsetting’, and outlining welfare support for those affected. This comes after the Oxford University Jewish Society (JSoc) and Oxford University Jewish Chaplaincy released a statement urging community members to be mindful of their safety against potential antisemitic harassment. An Oxford Israel Society has also been formed, and Oxford Palestine Society released a statement on their Instagram.

On 9th October, the University released a formal statement in response to recent events in Israel, Gaza and the Middle East: 

“We wish to acknowledge that the news of the recent conflict is very upsetting, particularly for our students and colleagues with connections to the area. The University has written directly to impacted staff and students to offer welfare and other types of support. Both the University and colleges are working to ensure all members of the University community are supported as much as possible, and we will respond as appropriate as the situation develops.”

Alongside this, the University included several links to welfare support and how to access this, as well as advice on travel and student visas and academic impacts, particularly if the conflict has disrupted students’ studies. The University has also sent targeted emails to staff and students in the region with advice.

The conflict started after Hamas launched a series of attacks from Gaza on the 7th October. The Israeli military has since ordered a reinforcement of troops and has targeted Gaza with air strikes. More than 1,300 people have been killed. 

The newly formed Oxford Israel Society told Cherwell it “unequivocally condemns” the recent conflict and “the massacre and hostage taking committed by Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists on the 7th of October, during the Jewish holy day of Shmini Azeret. The sheer brutality and ruthlessness of the massacre, mutilation, torture and rape of Jews harks back to the darkest of times. The use of dead, tortured civilians and kidnapped children as propaganda aids is a practice so vile as to defy comprehension.” 

They added that they have “confidence in the Israeli Defense Forces’ (IDF) commitment to minimise any harm done to innocent people.” 

On the Oxford Palestine Society’s Instagram, they said, “the offensive launched from Gaza can only be understood in the context of Israel’s ongoing, decades long, military occupation and colonisation of Palestinian land and imposition of a system of oppression that meets the legal definition of apartheid.”

The society also invited students to participate in protest to “demand Israel end its violent imposition of a system of occupation, apartheid and colonisation over the Palestinian people” on Thursday.

To read Oxford University’s statement, and to access the links for welfare support: 

With additional reporting by Rose Henderson

Photo Credit: Poppy Atkinson Gibson

Image description: a sandstone building in Oxford against a blue sky