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Jewish UCL students 'horrified' by anti-Israel event

Azzam Tamimi and Miko Peled booked for Friends Of Palestine event at UCL on Friday

    Dr Azzam Tamimi
    Dr Azzam Tamimi

    Jewish students at University College London have been left “horrified” after two notorious anti-Israel speakers were booked to appear at a UCL Friends of Palestine event on Friday.

    More than 200 students, including former and current Jewish society presidents have written a letter to UCL’s Provost and vice-Provost after learning that Hamas supporter Azzam Tamimi, and Israeli-born Miko Peled will both appear at the event titled Segregated and Unequal: Palestinian Life In Apartheid Israel.

    Mr Peled, the son of an Israeli army general who now lives in America, had provoked outrage at the Labour Party Conference in September when called for free speech to “discuss every issue, whether it’s the Holocaust: yes or no.”

    He also told the Labour fringe meeting:“We don’t invite the Nazis and give them an hour to explain why they are right; we do not invite apartheid South Africa racists to explain why apartheid was good for the blacks; and in the same way we do not invite Zionists – it’s a very similar kind of thing.”

    Mr Tamimi, a Palestinian professor, had previously backed suicide bombing saying: “I’d be a martyr for my country, of course", adding that "if you’re not prepared to die for your country, then you are not a patriot." 

    A letter protesting at the presence of the two speakers was sent to UCL authorities by Clara Fettaya and Natan Djanogly, the joint presidents of UCL Jewish Society and Alexandra Taic, president of UCL Friends of Israel Society and others.

    They wrote that dozen of members of the two society had voice concern over the prospect of Mr Tamimi and Mr Peled appearing on campus.

    They also claimed that organisers of the event had scheduled the event for Friday night “in order to deprive the vast majority of Jewish students of the opportunity to challenge hatred likely directed against them.”

    A statement issued by the Union of Jewish Students said: ‘We are deeply disappointed that UCL Union and UCL have allowed an event hosting Miko Peled and Dr Azzam Tamimi to take place despite the valid concerns that we, UCL J-Soc and UCL Friends of Israel Society have raised.

    'By providing a platform for these openly hostile speakers, UCL Union is not only failing to uphold their own speaker guidelines, which explicitly prohibit speakers that espouse hate speech or incite acts of violence and terror, but is also neglecting the welfare and wellbeing of its Jewish students.'

    Police were called to an event at University College London in October 2016 after violent clashes between pro-Palestinian protesters and members of a pro-Israeli group.

    Officers entered the lecture hall to accompany members of UCL’s Friends of Israel society away when a talk by a former Israeli Defence Force member  disrupted by demonstrators

    The JC contacted UCL and the Friends of Palestine group for comment.

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