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College of Europe launches probe after student’s door daubed with swastika

by editor

A student of Jewish background at the College of Europe in Bruges had their door tagged with swastikas and other antisemitic graffiti last weekend.

In an email to all students, seen by POLITICO, College Rector Federica Mogherini announced an investigation and threatened the perpetrators with “sanctions.”

“Promoting hate is not and will never be tolerated within our walls,” said Mogherini, who is in charge of the prestigious institution which trains the next generation of EU officials and diplomats.

Belgium’s Center for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism, Unia, has recorded an “alarming rise” in the number of reports of hate speech and crimes related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since Hamas’ attack on Oct. 7.

In 2022, Unia received four to five reports per month of antisemitism. As of Jan. 15, Unia has recorded 91 reports related to the conflict since Oct. 7 alone. “It is significant to note that 66 of these reports explicitly referred to Jewish origin, while eight concerned Palestinian origin, Arab origin and Islamic religious beliefs,” a report said.

Emma Hallali, president of the European Union of Jewish Students, expressed concern over the Bruges incident in a social media post Tuesday morning. “This goes against the very founding principles of this institution and is a betrayal of our European values and heritage,” she said. “Serious sanctions must be taken.”

Contacted by POLITICO, a spokesperson for the College of Europe said: “We do not have further comment beyond the information you have had access to. We cannot share any personal details. And the situation is still under investigation.”

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