Jewish student leaders are preparing to talk to Queen Mary University over an upcoming event with speakers who have praised terrorists, endorsed 9/11 conspiracy theorists and blamed Israel for antisemitism.
Marxism 2022, set to take place from July 1-3, will bring together some of Britain’s most controversial critics of Zionism – despite the east London university committing to the IHRA definition of antisemitism.
The Union of Jewish Students also expressed concern, telling the JC: “We urge universities to carefully consider which non-student organisations they allow to use their spaces on campus and the impact this may have on their students.”
Appearing alongside the notorious former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will be rapper Lowkey, who was slammed by the Board of Deputies as a “conspiracy theorist whose delusional output has long been of concern within the Jewish community”.
The anti-Zionist performer has endorsed a campaign of vandalism against Israeli businesses in the UK, pushed 9/11 conspiracy theories in a poem, and recently claimed on Iran’s Press TV that the media has “weaponised the Jewish heritage” of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to “stave off” inquiries about far-right groups in the country.
Also lined up to speak is Shahd Abusalama, a Palestinian academic at Sheffield Hallam University who has praised Jew-killing terrorists as “heroes” and has written that “Zionist lobbies… buy presidents”.
In February, Sheffield Jewish Society President Dora Hirsh told the JC that Ms Abusalama’s appointment as a lecturer meant campus was “now a hostile environment for Jews”.
Campaigner Tariq Ali is also set to appear at Marxism 2022. At a protest held last year, the veteran activist blamed Israel for antisemitism, saying: “Every time they bomb Gaza, every time they attack Jerusalem – that is what creates antisemitism. Stop the occupation, stop the bombing and casual antisemitism will soon disappear.”
Another speaker due to appear is Irish politician Richard Boyd Barret who was warned last year by a government minister that his shocking comments about Israel had been raised at a “global level”.
They will appear alongside Mr Corbyn, who presided over a toxic culture of antisemitism within Labour.
A Queen Mary University of London spokesman said: “Queen Mary is committed to promoting freedom of speech, and to enabling free debate and enquiry. This means that we encourage a wide range of views, political as well as academic, which might entail the airing of opinions and ideas that are unpopular, controversial or provocative.
“Our approach to promoting freedom of speech is set within our values. We stand against racism in all its forms. As a University we have adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Association’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. This covers all activities of the University.”