London university students ban Jews, whites from meeting

Goldsmiths activists restrict entry to 'Palestinian liberation' discussion


Jews and white people were banned from a student meeting at Goldsmiths, University of London, that discussed “defending Palestine”.

The meeting last month, which was strictly limited to students who were “African, Arab, Asian, Caribbean and other black communities”, was part of an effort by pro-Palestine activists to use a student strike against job cuts at the university to campaign for their cause.

On the first day of the strike, which began in November, an advertisement for “Palestinian liberation” was shared online while Palestine flags and banners appeared on the picket line.

This was despite the fact that the protest was actually against plans to make staff at the university redundant.

One speaker at the rally was filmed praising “solidarity with the UCU (University and College Union) and the ongoing commitment to the Palestinian cause”.

She then declared her support for the anti-Israel Boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

“The fight for our university workers, and a demilitarised university that opposes apartheid and occupation, instead of funding it, is the same fight,” she said.

During the protests in November, a meeting took place entitled “Black Liberation”, with the aim of “opposing Imperialist wars and defending Palestine”, according to publicity material.

On the same day, the Student Union affirmed its “complete, continued and unapologetic solidarity” with Palestinians.

It also declared its support for the London School of Economics (LSE), which is at the centre of an antisemitism row after the Israeli ambassador, Tzipi Hotovely, was targeted by a mob after giving a speech there.

Goldsmiths is one of a minority of universities that is yet to adopt the international definition of antisemitism drawn up by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

One student, who wished to remain anonymous, told the JC that a Student Union official involved in the pro-Palestine activism had branded Israelis “more racist than other white people”.

Another, meanwhile, had delivered a lecture about “Jewish privilege”.

Tristan Benhamou, President of Goldsmith’s Jewish Society said: “The reality is this has been a hostile environment since I started, and that was two-and-a-half years ago.

“The Student Union offers us very little support, they dodge our calls and avoid meetings to discuss antisemitism.”

Another student, who wished to remain anonymous, added: “This strike is supposed to be in solidarity with labour rights, and people who are honestly hardworking and striving for a good education in a prestigious institution.

“Instead, we are subject to discrimination and under-the-table targeting. As a Jewish community, we are not included. We are pushed to the side and somehow portrayed as a privileged and superior people. We are just regular people.”

Goldsmiths Student Union was contacted by the JC but did not respond.

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