A post office worker has reportedly demanded that a Jewish man denounce Israel in order to receive his biometric residence permit.
Johnathan Levartovsky, 30, is a new Israeli Jewish immigrant to the UK who was required by law to collect his permit in order to prove his legal residency in the country. The permit also contains a new immigrant’s national insurance number, enabling them to work and entitling them to public services. Mr Levartovsky has come to the UK on a Skilled Worker visa as a post-doctoral researcher in the chemical engineering department of a leading London university, where he will be funded by the Faraday Institute in the field of battery research.
On 5th July, less than a week after arriving in the UK, Mr Levartovsky visited the Post Office on Euston Road in King’s Cross to collect his permit and was reportedly treated with suspicion by the clerk, who, he claims, provided minimal assistance. He eventually asked the clerk why he was treating him “like a criminal”, to which the clerk reportedly responded that it was because he is a “criminal” and is “murdering Palestinians”.
He then told Mr Levartovsky that he would not provide him with service, and only after Mr Levartovsky begged him to give him his documents and was forced to assent to the clerk’s inflammatory opinions that the clerk provided the documents. Mr Levartovsky then told him that he is a racist and that he would report him.
The clerk refused to provide his name – and his colleague also declined to disclose it – but was reportedly in his forties or fifties and of Asian or Middle Eastern descent. He was the only male working in the post office at the time; his colleague, a woman, witnessed the exchange.
Mr Levartovsky has reported the incident to the police, who are investigating. He has also written to his local MP, Sir Keir Starmer, who is also the leader of the Labour Party.
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “We are appalled at the abuse that Mr Levartovsky has suffered. New immigrants have to navigate complex bureaucratic and logistical challenges and should be welcomed and supported in doing so, rather than subjected to abuse because of their race, religion or nationality. We urge the police to investigate and are in contact with the victim. We shall also be writing to the Post Office to investigate.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer 2020 showed that three in five British Jews believe that the authorities, in general, are not doing enough to address and punish antisemitism.
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