LSE dialogue breaks down in chaos

By James Martin, March 19, 2009

Dialogue between the Israel Society and the Palestine Society at the London School of Economics (LSE) has stopped after a PalestineSoc member suggested that Holocaust denial was wrong but not necessarily antisemitic.

Talks between the two groups were held last Friday over how far to include Holocaust denial in a motion on antisemitism, which the Palestine Society filibustered last Thursday.

But talks broke down after the PalestineSoc claimed their confidentiality had been breached by Israel Society secretary Patrick Jones leaking the details of the meeting.

Dan Sheldon, communications officer of the LSE union, said:”For PalestineSoc to quibble over whether Holocaust denial constitutes antisemitism shows them up for the bigoted zealots they are.

“Repeated attempts have been made to seek consensus on this motion, only for previous agreements to be ripped up. Would the IsraelSoc ever seek to tone down a motion about Islamophobia? Not in a million years: racism is racism, and we should fight it with a strong, united voice.

“This is not about shutting down debate or criticism of Israel — this is made explicit in the motion itself. PalestineSoc’s stance on this would be shocking if it were an isolated incident. Sadly, it is typical of their behaviour this year. PalestineSoc seem to exist purely to agitate, cause offence and derail good campus relations, rather than engage in any positive action for the Palestinian people.”

Stop Antisemitism Now, a motion tabled by the Israel Society designed to prevent antisemitism on campus failed to get through after filibustering by the Palestine Society meant that the union could not vote on the motion last Thursday (March 12).

Members of the Palestine Society argued that a clause preventing the use of rhetoric equating Jews or the state of Israel with the Nazi regime infringed on their right to free speech.

The motion was due to be re-tabled for a vote yesterday (March 19).

Last updated: 1:22pm, March 19 2009