Supporters of Israel say they were banned from the campus of a top London university after their event was cancelled “without any clear reason”.
The event in question, scheduled for Monday at King’s College, London (KCL), was called ‘Israelity,’ a project supported by StandWithUs UK, an Israel education organisation, giving students the chance to hear Israelis speak about the reality of life in the Middle East.
However, representatives of both the organisation and Israeli students said they were “harassed” by university personnel.
“She was just ripping off our stickers, using force,” said one pro-Israel activist. “It felt like she was taking a part away of my clothes. It’s something that shouldn’t be happening and reminds me of the dark days of Europe in the Second World War.”
Representatives from Jewish communal organisations including the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Leadership Council and UK Lawyers for Israel have been in discussions with the university’s leadership team, as has Baroness Ruth Deech.
Nick O’Donnell, the director of estates and facilities at KCL, invited Tamara Berens, the president of the Israel Society, and Tamir Oren of StandWithUs to a meeting with KCL president Professor Edward Byrne on Monday.
Berens said the university had treated the visitors “inhumanely,” sayng: “I am disappointed… The protests that have occurred on campus should not give the institution an excuse to indiscriminately ban Israeli visitors or speakers.”
She added: “It is so important, given that KCL Student Union advertised Israel Apartheid Week, that Israelis are given the opportunity to represent their own experiences.”