Jewish and Israeli students in the UK are this week promoting “a message of peace” in a range of activities across campus to counter the “incredibly hostile and intimidating” Israel Apartheid Week.
With support from the Union of Jewish Students (UJS), a campaign called ‘Building Bridges’ is being rolled out beyond the capital, including Liverpool, Leeds, Nottingham, Manchester, Bristol, Edinburgh and Leeds.
Activities include talks by soldiers from the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), history lessons from former British soldiers, events with Israeli journalists and British academics as well as facilitated discussion groups.
UJS Campaigns Director Russell Langer said: “While some unfortunately choose to spend this week spreading hate and causing division, we will be working with students to encourage dialogue and peace. This is a message deeply needed both here on campus and in Israel-Palestine.”
A spokeswoman for UJS said the aim of the ‘Building Bridges’ initiative was “to deliver a balanced debate on Israel-Palestine during Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), an incredibly hostile and intimidating week of campaigning”.
IAW is now in its 12th year and incorporates 150 cities across the world, promoting the burgeoning Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
In the capital, anti-Israel activists have planned events at University College London (UCL), the University of Westminster, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), the London School of Economics (LSE) and Kings College London.
Last week, a selection of Jewish groups opposed to the Israeli government’s policies said: “Growing numbers of Jews in this country and abroad see the BDS movement for what it is: a weapon of moral persuasion, deploying a tactic frequently used by powerless people in their opposition to racism, slavery and oppression.”