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Anorak | Free Speech: King’s College Students Ban Ideas When They Ban Israel

Free Speech: King’s College Students Ban Ideas When They Ban Israel

by | 28th, November 2014

Free speech is being banned on university campuses.

Brendan O’Neill writes:

So now a talk I was due to give to the Israel Society at King’s College London next Tuesday has been postponed because the Society is fighting for its survival, including against motions to have it shut down. Universities are now the hardest places in Britain at which to discuss ideas.

Sam Adari responds:

I’m the president of said society, and yes, we are currently facing motions trying to ban us from hosting events. Certain students have said that it’s inappropriate to allow Israelis to speak on campus, because it “normalises occupying forces”, and any  Pro-Israel speaker is protested on the grounds of being inherently controversial and threatening to every student’s right to feel safe on campus.

The Society should be supported by anoyone who values free speech and abhors censorship.

In June the Society hosted its first event last week, when Father Gabriel Nadaf visited campus.

The Greek Orthodox priest, who encourages Arab Christians to participate in military and national service, is a leading and sometime controversial voice in Israeli politics. He spoke to 40 students on the night, which was held in partnership with The Face of Israel and StandWithUs UK with an audience of all faiths, from Buddhists to Alawites.

With a growing membership of 150 people, the society’s treasurer Josh Boyle urged more members to sign up: “Whether you’re from Hendon or Hebron, Taunton or Tel Aviv, if you believe in a strong Israeli state, then this is the society for you,” he said.

The Isreal Society was set up to counter an iliberal movement. In March 2014, the college’s Student Union voted to ban Israelis.

The students’ union of King’s College London has voted to endorse the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign at its Student General Meeting.

The motion adopted by the union states that “BDS is an effective tactic, which educates society about these issues, economically pressures companies/institutions to change their practices, and politically pressures the global community.”

In addition, the union voted in favor of carrying out research into King’s College London (KCL) investments, partnerships and contracted companies “that may be implicated in violating Palestinian human rights.”

Union members also resolved to pressure KCL to divest from Israel and from companies that support “the Israeli occupation and apartheid policies,” either directly or indirectly.

The union determined to raise awareness of Israel’s “apartheid policies and its illegal occupation” by helping the college’s Action Palestine Society with printing materials and supporting events like the International “Israeli Apartheid Week.”

The motion was proposed to be debated three months ago, however was delayed after a threat of legal action.

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Posted: 28th, November 2014 | In: News Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink