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‘Her uni better speak up’: Student says she has her pepper spray ready after finding out her next-door neighbor is Palestinian

‘sad that this is how a lot of people think.’

 

Tiffanie Drayton

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An Indiana University student is facing serious backlash after posting a since-deleted TikTok that many have called out as racist.

Hailey Toch (@haileys.unfortunate.life), who is Jewish, said she discovered that her neighbor was Palestinian, which led her to believe that he’s dangerous. Another content creator (@Thisyou.official2) has since shared Toch’s video, raking in over 759,000 views.

Toch said her friend spotted the neighbor and thought he was cute, which prompted Toch to ask where he’s from. But she expressed disbelief upon learning that he was Palestinian. “Like, literally my jaw is just dropping,” Toch said. 

@thisyou.official2 This you? #fyp #foryou #thisyou ♬ original sound – Thisyou.official2

“My roommate,” she added, “is not Jewish. She’s from New York, but she’s Christian or Catholic or whatever.”

Surprised, Toch said that her friend asked why his background should be a problem, and Toch explained that the man likely wanted “to kill” her because she’s Jewish. Conflict between the state of Israel and Palestine has endured for decades. Wars between the nations have resulted in many deaths and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. 

“Obviously, I’m very proud to be Jewish,” Toch said. “I wouldn’t have even opened the door for him if I had known that he was from Palestine.”

However, in her telling of the story, Toch did way more than simply open her door for the man. She conversed with him and was excited that he might help her get placement for a job at the school. But upon learning he was Palestinian, she said she decided there was no way they could be friends or acquaintances. She even advised her roommate to stay away from him. 

“If you ever come near me, I have pepper spray ready to go,” Toch said, apparently speaking to her neighbor. 

Viewers expressed shock and outrage over the university student’s take. Some even encouraged her school to weigh in.

“This is so insaneeeee,” one user wrote.

“sad that this is how a lot of people think,” another added.

“Her uni better speak up,” a third viewer said.

The video also prompted responses from other TikTok users. In one video, James Ray (@Jamesgetspolitical) offered up a theory for why Palestinians face racism. 

“Palestinians are framed by Zionists not as indigenous people seeking national self determination and an end to their colonization, but rather as a sort of monolithic, unthinking group of antisemites,” he said.

He argued that anti-Zionism is intentionally conflated with antisemitism so that Israel can continue to colonize Palestinian land without facing recourse or backlash. Those exposed to such ideology, he said, view Palestinians as inherently dangerous or harmful. 

“She can’t fathom that Palestinian man being anything [other] than a violent anti-semite, despite him having done nothing to indicate that,” he said. 

Another user, Maya (@mayuhnaise), told the story of how one of her teachers refused to allow her to do a school project on Palestine and how her friendship with a Jewish girl in high school abruptly ended after she shared her experiences as a Palestinian over a dinner. Maya said that she often feels like she is fighting to prove to others that she has a right to live in her native land and in America comfortably.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Indiana University via email and to Toch through LinkedIn. 

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