Supporters of Israel clashed with pro-Palestinian activists at the University of Bristol on Monday night, as students from an Israel advocacy group welcomed former British and Israeli military figures speakers to campus.
A vocal protest greeted the arrival of former British Army commander Col. Richard Kemp and Brig. Gen. Yossi Kuperwasser, an Israeli defence and security analyst, whose appearance had been facilitated by the Pinsker Centre.
Kemp commanded British Forces in Afghanistan while Kuperwasser led the research division within the IDF’s Military Intelligence, before becoming the director general of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs.
Event organisers called the protesters “antisemitism deniers” and retweeted a post calling them “snowflakes, oddballs and geeks”. It also accused them of “harassing and slandering” Kemp, posting a video that had been viewed 55,000 times.
Tonight our speaker British veteran @COLRICHARDKEMP – a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan – was harassed and slandered as he went to share his experiences with students at @BristolUni pic.twitter.com/SWmiWhcvyi
— The Pinsker Centre (@PinskerCentre) February 10, 2020
Benjamin Hayton, media director of the Pinsker Centre, said the protesters voicing opposition to Kemp’s appearance in Bristol were members of Bristol Friends of Palestine, the Socialist Workers Party and Bristol Students Union.
“This was an event that was attended by many Jewish students on a campus with a strong Jewish student community,” he said. “The event focused on Anglo-Israeli military relations, past and present.”
Tweeting afterwards, Kemp said “several of them displayed only absence of knowledge and confusion,” adding: “In one hour I gave them the best political education they have received so far in their lives.”