International Israel ‘delegitimising’ conference organised by UK university
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

International Israel ‘delegitimising’ conference organised by UK university

Pro-Palestinian supporters advocating an Israel boycott
Pro-Palestinian supporters advocating an Israel boycott

1-southampton-uniSouthampton University Law School is to host a major international conference on the “legality, validity and legitimacy” of Israel “given the urgent need to respond to persistent Palestinian suffering.”

For three days in April, academics will flock to discuss the “problems associated with the creation and nature of the Jewish state itself and the status of Jerusalem.”

The conference will explore “the relatedness of the suffering and injustice in Palestine to the foundation and protection of a state of such nature,” asking what role international law should play in the situation.

Event literature says the subject is a “marginalised debate” needing a “legal analysis of the manner by which the State of Israel came into existence as well as what kind of state it is”.

Jewish community leaders expressed “grave concern” about the perceived partiality of the conference, which organisers said was “a ground-breaking historical event on the road towards justice and peace in historic Palestine.”

Tory peer Lord Leigh said: “It is very disappointing that a distinguished university like Southampton has organised this conference. They have never held a conference questioning the right of existence of any other country.”

Organised by Prof. Oren Ben-Dor, a former Israeli who has previously called Israel an “arrogant self-righteous Zionist entity,” the event promises “public debate without partisanship.”

However this was in doubt after the discussion of Israel was framed in the context of “other unjust regimes” and “other states established as a consequence of extreme violence towards indigenous populations”.

Despite opposition from Jewish community leaders – several of whom have lodged protests with the university’s vice-chancellor – organisers have pressed ahead with the convention on 17-19 April, saying they hope it will “serve as a platform for scholarly debates rather than positing an activist aim”.

Jewish Leadership Council chief executive Simon Johnson, who was among the dissenting voices, said: “We are gravely concerned about this unbalanced, delegitimising conference, which will have a detrimental impact on cohesiveness. We have asked the vice-chancellor to reconsider.”

He added: “It’s a fine line between academic freedom, which we all cherish, and delegitimisation and discrimination. This conference seems to hover around that line.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments