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Hamas attacks CAN be justified, students say: Shock poll of top UK universities finds that more than a third of pupils think the terrorist atrocities committed on October 7 were an ‘understandable act of resistance’

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Almost 40 per cent of students at Russell Group universities believe the October 7 terror attacks on Israel were an ‘understandable act of resistance’.

A poll of university students also found that only a third consider the Hamas massacre that sparked a new war in the region a ‘terrorist attack’.

The findings come amidst an unprecedented surge of anti-Semitism – with the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) fielding more than 700 calls about anti-Semitism from frightened students since October 7 and Israeli students warning they are ‘terrified’ of being targeted on campus.

Today, Cambridge University was forced to move its graduation ceremonies from the Senate House, where they have taken place since the 18th century, to Downing College due to pro-Palestine protests.

A poll of university students also found that only a third consider the Hamas massacre that sparked a new war in the region a ‘terrorist attack’. Students walk past pro Palestine protesters in Cambridge

The findings come amidst an unprecedented surge of anti-Semitism with Israeli students warning they are 'terrified' of being targeted on campus. College staff clean up what was left behind of Cambridge student protests

The findings come amidst an unprecedented surge of anti-Semitism with Israeli students warning they are ‘terrified’ of being targeted on campus. College staff clean up what was left behind of Cambridge student protests

Earlier this week anti-Israel campaigners pitched tents on the Senate House lawn – forcing the university to make an unprecedented and ‘difficult’ decision to move graduation ceremonies for today and tomorrow. The protesters left on Thursday night, declaring their goal of disruption had been accomplished.

It is the first time graduation has been held at Downing College – with students finding out less than 24 hours before and university porters given only eight hours’ notice to prepare in order to keep away the protesters.

Professor Marek Ziebert, 62, a lecturer at UCL who was celebrating his daughter’s graduation said: ‘I think it is a shame and completely disrespectful that protesters disrupted this historic ceremony in this way.

‘For many, graduation ceremonies are the outcomes of decades of hard work.’

Last night Education Secretary Gillian Keegan stressed that Jewish students must be protected and welcomed at British universities.

Earlier this week anti-Israel campaigners pitched tents on the Senate House lawn. Cambridge University students head to their graduation ceremony at Darwin College after the Senate House was occupied by Pro Palestine protesters

Earlier this week anti-Israel campaigners pitched tents on the Senate House lawn. Cambridge University students head to their graduation ceremony at Darwin College after the Senate House was occupied by Pro Palestine protesters

Commissioned by pro-Israel educational charity StandWithUs UK and conducted by Savanta, the survey shared exclusively with the Mail polled more than 1,000 students

Commissioned by pro-Israel educational charity StandWithUs UK and conducted by Savanta, the survey shared exclusively with the Mail polled more than 1,000 students

She said: ‘Hamas is a proscribed terrorist organisation and I am horrified that anyone would seek to legitimise their brutal terrorist attack on October 7.

‘We are working with universities, Jewish community groups and the police to ensure that Jewish staff and students feel safe in our universities.’

Commissioned by pro-Israel educational charity StandWithUs UK and conducted by Savanta, the survey shared exclusively with the Mail polled more than 1,000 students across 20 British campuses, finding that 29 per cent of students believe October 7 was an ‘understandable’ act of ‘resistance’.

This number rose to 38 per cent amongst Russell Group university students, seen as the best and brightest. It also found that 38 per cent of people polled agree that students publicly supporting Israel on campus should ‘expect’ abuse. Only 31 per cent of people vocally disagreed.

Responding to the findings, a spokesman for the Community Security Trust, which works to keep Jews in Britain safe, said: ‘The Hamas terror attack on Israel on 7 October was an appalling act of wanton murder, rape, torture and hostage-taking.

‘The idea that this was in any way justified or understandable ‘resistance’ is disgraceful, and the fact that so many university students appear not to grasp this basic fact is deeply worrying. Our universities are failing.’

Edward Isaacs, president of UJS said: ‘Since October 7 we have seen countless calls for intifada, support for Hamas, Houthis and Hezbollah, and the deligitmisation of Jewish students’ experiences.

Former Minister of Higher Education Robert Halfon said: ‘This is pretty grim polling. Students need more exposure to understand not just anti-Semitism, but also fundamentalism and extreme Islamist terror groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad.’

The shocking poll results come amid an explosion of anti-Semitic hatred on British university campuses. As revealed by the Mail this week, at Oxford University there have been 70 reported incidents of anti-Jewish hate in the last eight months – including one student being insulted over their ‘Jewish nose’.

Poll found 29 per cent of students believe October 7 was an 'understandable' act of 'resistance'

Poll found 29 per cent of students believe October 7 was an ‘understandable’ act of ‘resistance’

The protesters left on Thursday night, declaring their goal of disruption had been accomplished

The protesters left on Thursday night, declaring their goal of disruption had been accomplished

At the more than 20 pro-Palestine encampments that have been erected around the country, students have been heard chanting ‘intifada’ (uprising) – an explicit call to violence – and ‘Resistance is justified if a people are occupied’, an apparent endorsement of Hamas’s massacre.

In Cambridge students participating in the encampment declared ‘victory at Senate House’ after university officials agreed to ‘negotiate’ if students removed their tents from Senate House and returned to their camp outside Kings College, Cambridge.

Meanwhile a Jewish student holding an Israeli flag opposite the Cambridge encampment was violently shoved and had the flag ripped out of their hand.

StandWithUs executive director Isaac Zarfati said: ‘We are in the midst of a historic surge in anti-Semitism, highlighting a troubling decline in morals and awareness among students – the future leaders of the Western society.’

Co-chairman of the all-party parliamentary group against anti-Semitism Nicola Richards said: ‘No one should seek to justify or downplay October 7 and the systematic mutilation, rape, slaughter and hostage-taking of hundreds of innocent people.’

‘The best-educated students in the world should know better than to hold these dangerous beliefs.’

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