Pro-Palestinian protester guilty of King's College assault


One of the pro-Palestinian protesters who disrupted a university’s Israel Society event has been found guilty of assault by beating.

Two Jewish students were subjected to a volley of abuse, including being called “Nazis”, as they held off a mob of demonstrators during the lecture at King’s College London, in January.

The talk by Ami Ayalon, a former head of Israel's Shin Bet security agency and now peace activist, was interrupted by protesters banging on the windows, chanting “Free free Palestine”, throwing chairs in the corridor and setting off fire alarms on every floor of the building.

One of the protesters, Ivana Bevilaqua, 25, who lives on Pentonville Road, N1, was convicted this morning at Westminster Magistrates Court.

She was given a conditional discharge for 28 days and ordered to pay compensation of £100 to the victim, Esther Endfield, as well as court costs of £200, and a victim surcharge of £20.

King’s launched what it called a “swift and comprehensive investigation” into the incident, reporting in February that: “A number of individuals intentionally disrupted the rights of others to exercise freedom of speech within the law.

“Those individuals who chose to behave inappropriately crossed a line and should be held accountable for doing so.”

At the time, Ms Endfield, who was president of the university’s Israel Society, told the JC that she had been struck on the arm during the event.

“At one point I was against the door and Joseph [Stoll, the society’s vice president] was protecting me. I was crying because I was scared and didn't know what to do.

“This girl hit me and my phone dropped out of my hand. I was trying to film, she just came up to me and hit me on my arm.

“Some people were trying to punch the door to get into the room. They were very aggressive and angry. It was completely unacceptable.”

In response to today's conviction, the Jewish Leadership Council said: “We welcome the guilty verdict against one of the violent anti-Israel protesters at KCL earlier this year.”

Marie van der Zyl, Board of Deputies vice-president, said: “The conviction of this individual should send out a message that this type of violent and criminal disruption will not be tolerated.

"In an open and tolerant society such as ours, everyone should be able to hold public discussions without fearing for their safety.”

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