Bid­to­bandiplo­mat con­demned

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY JEN­NIFER LIP­MAN AND MARCUSDYSCH

EF­FORTS TO have Is­raeli diplo­mats banned from a univer­sity cam­pus have been con­demned by the Is­raeli Em­bassy.

Dozens of stu­dents, aca­demics, alumni, Univer­sity Col­lege Union mem­bers and two trade unions signed a pe­ti­tion con­demn­ing Liver­pool Univer­sity’s in­vi­ta­tion to Alon Roth-snir, Is­rael’s deputy am­bas­sador to the UK. He is due to speak to pol­i­tics stu­dents at the univer­sity on Wed­nes­day.

Led by Liver­pool’s Guild of Stu­dents pres­i­dent, Maev Mcdaid, the boy­cott call im­plored the pol­i­tics depart­ment to re­scind its in­vi­ta­tion and “deny any plat­form on our cam­pus that might fa­cil­i­tate at­tempts to jus­tify breaches of in­ter­na­tional law and hu­man rights”.

The pe­ti­tion quotes Arch­bishop Des­mond Tutu’s com­par­i­son of Is­rael to the for­mer apartheid regime in South Africa, and ref­er­ences blood li­bel Is­lamic cleric Raed Salah.

An Is­raeli Em­bassy spokesman said: “Uni­ver­si­ties are the place for free­dom of speech. If a long list of stu­dents don’t know the first thing about the aca­demic world, then the univer­sity is in real trou­ble.”

Mean­while, Na­tional Union of Stu­dents pres­i­dent Liam Burns con­demned “vile” an­tisemitism af­ter ac­tivists van­dalised a Union of Jewish Stu­dents’ stall at NUS con­fer­ence.

Jewish stu­dents dis­cov­ered stick­ers call­ing for peo­ple to “boy­cott Is­raeli goods” plas­tered across the UJS sign and star of David sym­bol.

The at­tack hap­pened on Tues­day evening af­ter UJS mem­bers had left the stall in Sh­effield.

A UJS spokesman said: “There is no ex­cuse for this be­hav­iour within the stu­dent move­ment. The sin­gling out of Jewish stu­dents and the di­rect at­tack on Jewish re­li­gious sym­bols is an­tisemitism.”

Mr Burns, who was re-elected as pres­i­dent for a sec­ond term, told del­e­gates that NUS did not tol­er­ate racism, fas­cism or an­tisemitism in any form. “An­tisemitism is vile. It is hate and has no place in our move­ment. We will work day and night to drive hate out of our stu­dent move­ment, ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem and so­ci­ety.”

NUS launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion, while mem­bers gath­ered sig­na­tures urg­ing col­leagues to “stand in sol­i­dar­ity with Jewish stu­dents vic­timised at this year’s con­fer­ence”. Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks had ad­dressed stu­dents at a fringe ses­sion ear­lier on Tues­day evening — his first ap­pear­ance at NUS con­fer­ence.

He told them: “Univer­sity is the school for jus­tice and jus­tice means giv­ing a fair hear­ing to all. That is the pre­con­di­tion of jus­tice. No group should feel in­tim­i­dated at univer­sity.”

On the con­fer­ence floor, a re­port pre­sented by NUS’S na­tional ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil and “lib­er­a­tions” sec­tion in­cluded a se­ries of poli­cies at­tack­ing Is­rael and de­mand­ing “free­dom for Pales­tine”.

A sec­tion on “in­ter­na­tional peace and jus­tice” called for NUS to work more closely with the Pales­tine Sol­i­dar­ity Cam­paign and Stop the War Coali­tion.

There was also sym­pa­thy for the plight of Is­raeli women dis­crim­i­nated against by “some ul­tra-ortho­dox Jewish men” and those liv­ing in Sderot un­der the threat of rocket at­tacks from Gaza.

NUS na­tional lead­ers are un­der no obli­ga­tion to adopt the poli­cies.

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The de­faced UJS poster

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