Sur­vey shows boy­cotters flour­ish­ing

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY NAOMI FIRSHT

A STUDY has re­vealed that in­creas­ing re­stric­tions on free speech on cam­pus are hav­ing a pro­found im­pact on proIs­rael stu­dents.

There are cur­rently 13 stu­dent unions at Bri­tish univer­si­ties that have adopted BDS (Boy­cott Di­vest­ment Sanc­tion) poli­cies against Is­rael, ac­cord­ing to re­search by on­line mag­a­zine Spiked.

Across the coun­try’s 115 univer­si­ties, Is­rael was the only in­di­vid­ual coun­try tar­geted by boy­cotters.

Spiked deputy editor Tom Slater, who com­piled the rank­ings, said Is­rael sup­port­ers had been hit hard by the trend to­wards cen­sor­ship and bans.

“If you’re pro-Is­rael on cam­pus to­day you haven’t got a hope in hell of hold­ing a de­bate or invit­ing a pro-Is­rael speaker with­out fac­ing pick­ets and cen­sor­ship,” he said.

“More and more stu­dents’ unions are sign­ing up to BDS. Even at univer­si­ties that haven’t, cam­pus cam­paign­ers find novel ways of mak­ing sure pro-Is­rael events don’t go ahead.

“To my mind the war on pro-Is­rael stu­dents is the most ex­plicit and wide- spread form of political cen­sor­ship that we see on cam­pus to­day.

“Pro-Is­rael stu­dents have told me they don’t even feel wel­come at their own univer­si­ties. Stu­dents who be­lieve in free­dom of speech — no mat­ter what side they come down on in the Is­raelPales­tine de­bate — need to start pip­ing up about this. It’s a scan­dal.”

How­ever, Union of Jewish Stu­dents cam­paigns di­rec­tor Rus­sell Langer said the vast ma­jor­ity of pro-Is­rael events on cam­pus were not tar­geted by pro­test­ers.

He said: “In the most ex­treme of cases there have been some calls to stop

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