An investigation by King’s College into a riot that broke out during an Israel Society event in the campus last month has found that protesters “crossed a line and should be held accountable” by a disciplinary committee.
Police were called to the London campus on as around 20 anti-Israel protesters set off fire alarms, smashed a window, hurled chairs and allegedly “assaulted” event co-host, Esther Endfield, who had arranged the talk by former Shin Bet chief Ami Ayalon.
The anti-Israel activists were later branded “neo-fascists” by the Conservative’s former communities secretary, Sir Eric Pickles.
The report into the riot, published on Friday, concludes there is “sufficient evidence of misconduct which constitutes a major infringement of the regulations against those who chose to participate in the… and recommends referral to a Disciplinary Committee.”
The finding received backing from the Union of Jewish Students. A spokesperson said: “We are pleased to see that King’s College London has taken this disgraceful incident of violent intimidation so seriously. Its quick and thorough report will act to reassure Jewish students at King’s that appropriate action will be taken. We look forward to many more events at King’s where a variety of speakers from across the political spectrum can engage in matters surrounding Israel.”
Accepting the recommendations, Professor Ed Byrne, President and Principal of King’s, said: “We have a duty to uphold freedom of speech within the law and will fight against intolerance wherever it is found. Intimidating behaviour is completely unacceptable and goes against everything that we stand for at King’s. We do not, and will not, condone the use of any form of violent protest.”
The Board of Deputies President and Vice President condemned the actions as “violent and criminal ”, while the he Israeli Embassy said it was “shocking and shameful”, reflecting the “fear that groups centred around hatred of Israel harbour.”
Following the incident, King’s College London Action Palestine said they “categorically condemn any aggression that took place”.