Professors from Southampton University have had a judge’s permission to pursue their legal claim against their employer for putting the kibosh on a conference questioning Israel’s right to exist.

Lady Justice Arden, sitting in the Court of Appeal, last week said the case brought by Israel-born Professor Oren Ben-Dor and Palestinian Professor Suleiman Sharkh could be heard, with a hearing date due to be set.

The conference, called ‘International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism,’ was pulled for a second time after the university insisted Ben-Dor and Sharkh stump up £24,000 for additional security costs, and ordered the three-day event be cut to two days.

Jewish and pro-Israel groups in the UK were accused of applying “political pressure” by conference organisers, who said it was a matter of free speech. A crowd-funding campaign has financed their legal action.