UCL Friends of Israel Society has released a statement blaming the “Palestinian Society” for denying them their “right to freedom of speech”.
On Thursday October 27, the UCL Friends of Israel Society hosted a talk by Hen Mazzig, a spokesman for the ‘Stand with us’ organisation that aims to bring about peace by educating people about Israel.
However, the talk was suddenly interrupted by UCLU Friends of Palestine protesters leading to intervention on behalf of the police.
The statement claims that the society’s ‘right to freedom of speech’ was ‘seriously compromised’ as they were unable to offer a ‘safe platform’ for Mazzig to speak on.
They express their disappointment that UCLU Friends of Palestine “chose to use intimidation” against students who “wished to learn” more about Israel, particularly as in their view Mr Mazzig is “deeply sympathetic to the Palestinian cause”.
The friends of Israel Society emphasised in their statement that going forward they wanted a “concrete effort” to “safeguard students’ freedom of self expression and…speech”. It is not specified whether they expect this effort to come directly from UCL.
The statement claims that the talk went ahead with the “consent of both UCL and UCL Union”. This seems contentious in light of the fact that UCLU had blocked the event up until a few hours before it took place.
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