The Shmooze

Student Expelled For Abuse of Israeli Flag

By Nathan Burstein

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Of all the ways in which people express their contempt for Israel, this is a new one: putting pubic hair on an Israeli flag.

A student at St. Andrews University in Scotland has been expelled for doing just that, during a drunken incident in the room of a Jewish student.

Paul Donnachie, a 19-year-old student at Prince William’s alma mater, will need to enroll elsewhere now that the episode has been ruled a “racist breach of the peace.” The irony — all too familiar in these cases — is that Donnachie fancies himself a crusader for tolerance, saying after the ruling, “I’m a member of anti-racism campaigns, and I am devastated that as someone who has fought against racism, I have been tarnished in this way.”

He received support in the courtroom from members of the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, who booed the decision. They also booed the Jewish victim, Chanan Reitblat, as he left the courtroom.

Reitblat, a 21-year-old born in Lithuania, was an exchange student from Yeshiva University when the incident took place. He received the flag from his brother, then a soldier in the Israeli military.

Reitblat tried to put a positive spin on the episode. “I hope my experience in St. Andrews will help other Jewish students who come to Scotland in the future avoid the sort of incident I lived through,” he said.


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