A pro-Palestine student event scheduled for the evening of Yom Kippur has been postponed by a leading university.
A debate entitled ‘How Can Palestine be Free?’ was due to be hosted at Manchester University Students Union, before the institution delayed it, citing concerns over a lack of balance in the debate.
Due to be hosted by the Socialist Worker Student Society within the union building, the event was scheduled to begin at 5.30pm; half-an-hour before Yom Kippur begins.
A flyer posted at the university promoting the event describes how for over “sixty years” the “Zionist project” has subject Palestinians to ‘military occupation and ethnic cleansing.’
A university spokesperson told Jewish News the event was postponed as it “has the potential to breach The Code of Practice on Freedom of Speech”.
They add, that the events details weren’t made clear at the time of booking, and “the relevant measures were not sought to ensure adequate control measures are in place to prioritise the safety and inclusion of all of our student societies and attendees.”
The spokesperson added that the code’s aim was to not “suppress freedom of speech, but to ensure all parties involved have the chance to express their views”, which Jewish students would not have been able to due to Yom Kippur.
A spokesperson for the Manchester University Jewish Society, and Israel forum the Pinkser centre, welcomed the decision. Laurence Rosenberg said they welcome “the considered decision” to postpone the event.
He adds, that “whilst we accept that not all Jewish students are Zionists, many indeed would identify as being so; and accordingly would like the opportunity to defend Israel in a fair and open discussion – something not possible based on the timing of the event, which clashes with Yom Kippur.
They said that neither the Jsoc or Pinkser centre condone breaches of free speech, and they “sincerely hope that the event is able to take place at another time mutually convenient to facilitate meaningful dialogue.”