A third university has blocked plans for an event during Israel Apartheid Week, citing the impact it would have on the student population.
A proposed mock Israeli checkpoint at Exeter University has been banned by authorities, as it would ‘restrict’ students moving freely.
The University’s Friends of Palestine were scheduled to hold the event as a piece of ‘street theatre’ on Monday 27 February.
A spokesman for the University of Exeter told Jewish News: “In keeping with guidance from Universities UK, the representative organisation of UK universities, we believe that if protests take place on campus, consideration must be given to the location and prominence of planned events and their impact on the staff and student body, as well as the need to ensure that they do not restrict the ability of the campus community to move freely.”
They continue: “The proposed Mock Israeli Checkpoint street theatre event was planned for a very busy part of campus where students and staff not only congregate but use as a thoroughfare to lectures.”
A spokesperson for Exeter’s Guild of Students, told Exeposé, Exeter Uni’s student paper, that they “approved the Check Point event to go ahead for these reasons and is disappointed that it has been cancelled.”
The Friends of Palestine Society told the student newspaper that the ban was politically motivated, but an appeal submitted by the group to overturn the ban was rejected.
It follows the cancellation of an Apartheid Week event by the University of Central Lancashire, which cited the new definition of anti-Semitism adopted by the British government. UCL has also cancelled an event over a procedural issue. However, an Israel Apartheid Week event featuring a Speaker banned by a French university is set to go ahead on premises owned by King’s College next week.
The Israel Britain Alliance last week launched a nationwide campaign against IAW, stressing the legal obligations on universities.
Earlier this week, Jewish student representatives criticised the “disappointing but not surprising” election of a Palestinian student leader to Exeter University’s Guild, who has been accused of using “deeply anti-Semitic rhetoric”.
Post-graduate student Malaka Shwaikh, 25, also known as Malaka Mohammed, had previously made comments, such as a tweet to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, reading: “The shadow of the Holocaust continues to fall over us from the continuous Israeli occupation of Palestine to the election of Trump”.
Campaign Against Antisemitism also claim Shwaikh said: “Zionism ideology is no different than that of Hitler’s” and that “Hitler did his deed and the Palestinians had to pay for it.”
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