Manchester Uni to debate Israeli speaker ban

Manchester students are debating the possible interpretations of a motion passed during the Gaza offensive, which could mean denying Israeli speakers a platform.


Manchester students protest against the visit of the Israeli deputy ambassador.

Manchester students protest against the visit of the Israeli deputy ambassador.

Manchester University Students' Union has not voted to ban all Israeli speakers from giving talks, despite earlier claims to the contrary.

Andrew Balcombe, speaking at the Zionist Federation dinner last night, claimed that the Union executive had voted to deny all Israelis a platform at the Union.

It had been thought that the executive had pushed through a motion backing a ban.

The JC now understands that an executive meeting is due to take place on Tuesday to discuss interpretations of a motion adopted after last year’s Gaza conflict.

The Union may decide to deny official Israeli government representatives a platform.

The confusion followed protests last week over a planned talk by Deputy Israeli Ambassador Talya Lador-Fresher.

She cancelled her appearance, scheduled to take place at the Union last Thursday, over alleged “security threats” posed by protestors. She had been due to speak to the Union’s Politics Society.

But a protest led by student society Action Palestine saw hundreds of activists clash with Jewish students demanding Ms Lador-Fresher be allowed to speak.

Two Community Security Trust volunteers were “slightly injured” while trying to defend the Jewish students.

Manchester University has asked the deputy ambassador to re-arrange her speech and offered her an “open invitation”.

Last updated: 2:56pm, February 23 2010