Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Programme Manager, Ben, was attacked on Wednesday evening whilst passing through Coventry on a nationwide mission to help students deal with antisemitism on campus.
At approximately 20:00, a man aged 40-50 with a shaved head and dressed smartly in a coat and tie, accosted Ben as he passed the ruins of Coventry’s famous cathedral which was bombed during the Second World War.
The man, who appeared to be drunk, asked Ben, who wears a kippah (Jewish skullcap) whether he was Jewish, which Ben confirmed he was. The man followed Ben, saying that he was a Catholic, and Jews do not belong near a cathedral. The man demanded that Ben “go back where you’re from”, to which Ben replied that he is from England. The man asked “How would you like it if I went to your places?” Ben told him he would be very welcome to visit.
The man then swung his arm at Ben, grabbing his hand and refusing to release it. Ben used this to keep the man at arm’s length as he continued to swing violently, repeating several times that this is Britain and he is British, adding “You shouldn’t be here, you don’t belong.”
After succeeding in knocking Ben’s kippah from his head, he told him to “have a good night” and ran away.
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Crime Unit is in touch with West Midlands Police, however it is not currently believed that the incident was caught on CCTV and this will likely be yet another case in which a recognisably Jewish person is assaulted whilst the perpetrator goes unpunished. Ben is shaken but otherwise fine.