Exeter University agrees to compromise over Israeli settlements conference


The organisers of a conference on Israeli settlements “in Palestine” have agreed to let pro-Israel academics take part after fears from the community that it was biased.

Exeter University said it would invite two lecturers to present the Israeli position, and would also hold a second academic event later in the year co-hosted with the Jewish Leadership Council.

The compromise comes after talks between the JLC and the university vice-chancellor Sir Steve Smith.

Concerns had been raised by the Board of Deputies and grassroots pro-Israel groups that the conference, entitled “Settler Colonialism in Palestine & Workshop own the Naqab Bedouin” and planned for October, would be anti-Israel.

JLC chief executive Simon Johnson said: “This approach should form a good model for future discussions on conferences which may cause controversy.”

Board president Jonathan Arkush welcomed the move, which was supported by the university’s Jewish Society, as well as the Friends of Israel and Friends of Palestine societies.

JSoc president Mikhaile Perkins said: “We appreciate that our concerns have been heeded.”

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