Manchester students block anti-Israel amendment

By Jennifer Lipman, October 20, 2010
Manchester University

Manchester University

Jewish students at Manchester University have successfully prevented the inclusion of an anti-Israel statement in a motion intended to promote “peace through education.”

An amendment put forward by Manchester Jewish Society ensured the removal of an accusation about Israeli apartheid, proposed by Action Palestine Society.

The original text read: “Pro Israeli apartheid organisations and individuals …have made up slanderous accusations and claims that supporting Palestinian educational institutions is support for terrorism.”

However this has now been removed and the amended version, which passed with nearly 90 per cent support, reads: “It’s vital to protect the physical and emotional safety of all students at the university within the framework of constructive dialogue and debate.”

Alex Goodman, campaigns chair of Manchester JSoc, said: “We are ecstatic with the result.

“We are very thankful for the invaluable support we received from student union staff and sabbatical officers.”'

Carly McKenzie, campaigns director for the Union of Jewish Students, said it was a result to be proud of.

She said: “This demonstrates that you can be supportive of Israel whilst recognising the rights of Palestinians and working to realise them.

“This is a great day for democracy at Manchester.”

In 2007 Manchester’s student union endorsed the motion to twin with the An-Najah National University in Nablus.

During the last academic year the campus saw a violent pro-Palestinian protest. Speakers at the university included Dr Azzam Tamimi, who has said he "longs to be a martyr"; and the author of a book called “Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner's Guide”.

Last updated: 5:01pm, October 20 2010