Physically attacked at SOAS after anti-Israel event with Roger Waters.

A scene from the film shown at SOAS.

A scene from the film shown at SOAS.

It’s with great sadness I have to write this piece. Having attended hundreds of anti-Israel events throughout London and beyond for 10 years I have never been hit. I have been threatened repeatedly but never thought someone would follow through. Last night that changed at SOAS, where I’m also an alumnus.

Last night Prof. Gilbert Achcar hosted a film narrated by Roger Waters. About 275 people were in the auditorium, few of whom were students let alone students from SOAS. It was a publicly advertised event so anyone can just walk in off the streets; a security nightmare itself in these times.

The film lasts 80 minutes and contains multiple scenes of dead and mutilated Palestinian and Lebanese men, women and children. There is also footage and stills of Israeli soldiers who are shown to be committing violent acts against Palestinians.

Interspersed with these scenes were interviews with the usual anti-Israel protagonists: Finkelstein, Chomsky, Blumenthal, Greenwald, Walt to name but a few.

Their message was that “the Israel lobby” spends millions of dollars in America to reverse the narrative that “Israel is the aggressor” into one of “Israel is under attack”. The film claims that the American public is being duped into supporting Israel.

Waters also states that the Hamas Charter was “written by a few ideologues” but had been disowned by Hamas long ago and that UNSCR 242 simply called for Israeli soldiers to withdraw from the West Bank. And let’s not even go into Water’s potted history of the build up to 1948.

After the film Waters was skyped in live and I had my hand up throughout but Achcar managed to circumvent my outstretched arm. I wanted to ask Waters how a Star of David emblazoned on a pig at one of his concerts could be considered anything other than anti-Jewish.

Then there was a Q&A to a panel consisting of John Pilger, Dina Matar and Sut Jhally. At one stage they raised the propaganda of Goebbels and the Nazis, presumably by comparison to Israel’s “Hasbarah”.

Jonathan Hoffman asked a question and he also interjected when SOAS lecturer Matar claimed outrageously that “anyone who is pro-Palestinian is instantly labelled anti-Semitic”.

When the event finished I met up with Jonathan inside the auditorium and he was being quickly surrounded by those wanting to speak to him. I jokingly castigated him for asking an “unbiased question”.

A male next to Jonathan then turned to me and asked if I was with him (Jonathan) and I said “yes” presuming he wanted to chat about the film. But he was immediately face-to-face with me and I noticed he was totally drunk. He was a white male, much taller than me and much younger, probably in his mid to late twenties.

I tried to get away but had nowhere to go as the room was very crowded. There was no security around whatsoever. He was facing me very close telling me I was going to be “fucking mugged off”. I asked him to calm down and back off or I’d call the police and that I just wanted a relaxing evening to which he responded (here’s the audio):

“I’ll give you a relaxing exit. Would you like a relaxing exit? I’ll tell you what, you’ll get a fucking pasting. You’ll get a fucking pasting.”

I dialled 999 but he had walked away so I stopped. However, he then immediately returned, tried to slam my phone out of my hand and also punched me on the side of my head.

I had never seen the attacker before at any event. All he knew about me was that I was connected to Jonathan who had, during the Q&A, tried to put forward Israel’s narrative. This attacker, who had just watched a film with multiple scenes of dead and mutilated men, women and children wanted to find someone to take it out on.

Maybe he was just a fan of Waters. All I know is these meetings are now not safe to attend.


31 responses to “Physically attacked at SOAS after anti-Israel event with Roger Waters.

  1. Makes my blood boil reading this, but sadly, par for the course.
    Palestinian supporters know one language only and that is of violence and aggressiveness.
    Not dissimilar to the behaviour of the Israelis that they claim to be so horrified about!
    These people sicken me.

  2. Dov Hamburger

    Such a b…..y shame. You have given so much
    Chizuk to us all. Shame you didn’t nail him with a picture. I agree these things are unsafe
    But if you decide to go to more you should take some people for your protection.

  3. Chris Chick

    Really sad to hear this I’ve been verbally abused and nearly arrested for standing up for Gods land and people hope that you feel better soon . Always praying for the peace of Jerusalem 🇮🇱

  4. I’m sorry to hear that, Richard. I honestly don’t know how you have the guts to attend these things. Their sort of language and abuse is something Im can barely stomach, although I see plenty of it in books and articles. And, yes, I admit I have been to too many church pro-Palestine events, usually with Jewish friends. All the same, you go top the worst ones, and I greatly admire you for that and for the information you relay back to us. All best, Denis.

  5. Last night was so upsetting. To be assaulted for telling the truth – in a University. I felt like we had crossed over to the dark side. Antisemites are attracted to these SOAS events like bees to honey. Baroness Amos has to get a grip – or resign, so that someone else can.

  6. I trust you reported this as a hate crime

  7. Richard Galber

    I am now sorry that I did not attend. Hope you are feeling okay.
    I hope you are lodging a formal complaint. It might not go anywhere obvious, but it could seriously impact future events, similar to that which happened after UCL and KCL

  8. Richard
    Sorry to hear this Richard but not surprised . You know you are getting to the knuckle scrapers when they resort to this behaviour .

  9. This is just awful. We have all always been worried for your safety Richard, but this has just increased a hundred-fold. Did you call the police after you were hit? And did you manage to get a photo of the assailant? It will be very interesting to see if this gets treated as a hate crime. If not, that in itself speaks volumes.

    Please stay safe and take great care. Your work is invaluable, but not as much as your life.

    • I seriously hope this has been reported to the authorities and the university.

      Jews cannot be subject to violence on campus.

  10. So sad and sorry to read this.

    The rabid and very dishonest anti Israel lobby continue pushing the boundaries of lies and hate on a compliant European public with few denounces.

    Whenever I ask a ‘passionate’ pro Palestinian about facts or history it’s clear they’re often clueless and simply brainwashed to a shocking degree. Very sad as this does not help the Palestinian cause. You need more media push- Twitter , short films of truth.

    They push so hard now that it’s becoming increasingly OK to be openly hateful and racist.

    This madness must end soon or it will fracture our society. A fact that those pushing and paying for this this are actually hoping for.

    When will people wake up? Not too late I truly hope.

  11. Mike Abramov

    Richard – May I firstly express my sympathy for this incident. Trying to be rational, one must take in to account that this guy was drunk, but not so drunk that he looked at your stature and thought you were a push-over. I was in two minds about going on Monday night because my sole purpose would have been to remind Roger Waters, I was a great fan of Pink Floyd, that he might have been a great musician, but he was a lousy politician.

    From what you are telling us, this was a huge propaganda exercise in film. With Ken Loach by R. Waters side, this film would have been directed by a professional.

    Scary as this may have been for you Richard, the man was drunk and also a coward because he picked on someone he could ‘take-on’.. Based upon these points, please take solace from the fact that this was a one-off.

    Do not lose your confidence and belief.

  12. Geoffrey Bernstein

    Time for SOAS to prevent these events taking place in its properties. If SOAS principals cannot maintain control, they should be dismissed forthwith and replaced by those who can.

  13. debby taylor

    Absolutely shocking.

    Am in Israel on holiday just now. Roger Waters, a keen and vocal supporter of BDS is more than happy to profit from his music being sold in Israel.

    One is tempted to speculate that Roger Waters hypocrisy and his crusade for the BDS movement are simply a thin veneer for Jew hatred.

  14. Sorry to hear about the attack Richard. Ironic that alcohol was involved.

  15. The man from the audience sounds like Patrick Walker a lefty student at Royal Holloway.

  16. Christopher Proudlove

    May I also congratulate Richard for reporting on events such as this over the years. How I wish I resided in London so I could help to form a bodyguard around him as he monitors the excesses of the Palestinianistas.
    I attended a pro-Palestinian event in the Euston area last November when speaker after speaker hit out at Israel’s security measures and their impact on Palestinians. Not one stated the reason for the security measures … the intifada violence of the suicide bombers and terrorists. The security walls, fences and checkpoints dramatically reduced the Israeli death toll to practically zero. As a Christian Zionist I have examined the Palestinian narratives and found them to be sadly lacking in the truth.

  17. Shelley Herman

    Appalling – Has this been reported to the Police or CST?

  18. Edward Walker

    While I disagree with any form of violence being used against you you’re stance on Israel is so far from truth . I’ve been privileged too visit the country on many occasions and the Israel you describe just plain doesn’t exist. I suggest you find a posting by a lady called Kaye Wilson it may help you to come to a more balanced and truthful conclusion.

  19. Next time, go with silent bodyguards who will get hold of those who get excited..

  20. Richard, you are extremely brave. Have you reported it to the police? You should also let the organizers of this hatefest know.

  21. Time to take a course in Krav Maga maybe?

  22. These “”pro Palestinian Peace lovers” are such a pathetic bunch having to resort to lies & old mantra’s to make their case. Best not to go there as everything they have to report is yesterday’s news.

    Let them party among themselves and wallow in their hate.
    Don’t give them you’re time & energy but let them sink into insignificance for that’s all they deserve.

  23. Richard……I think you can still go these meetings. It sounds like a one-off nutter looking for trouble. He could have been any old bod who dropped in and not a regular. Don’t be discouraged.

  24. “…for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7 (KJV)

    You reap what you sow Richard.

    • In this case, it seems rather the bad karma of the aggressor that Richard sowed, no what he himself did.
      Blaming the victim is a typical racist attack.
      It seems we’ve got a “new” pseudo-Jew coming back to spam this blog with his ad hominem.

  25. It was probably Levy who hit you

  26. Levy endorsing physical violence against someone who tells the truth … Nice