This evening, the doors connecting the King’s building and the students’ union lobby were locked, extra security guards were patrolling the Strand campus and the police outside the campus confirmed they had been called for the Israel Society event. This is just another example of how universities brand Palestine activists and Palestine societies as a threat. For this reason, KCL Action Palestine (KCLAP) agreed it was the best decision for our society and the Palestine student movement to not attend the event. From experience, we know that pro-Israel advocacy groups work with Israeli student societies to undermine Palestine solidarity activism on campuses, using aggressive intimidation tactics, Islamophobic abuse and false accusations of antisemitism. They attempt to stifle debate and stigmatise initiatives like the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.
Although the SU “allowed” us to protest the talk under the new agreement between KCL and KCLSU, it is well known that Palestine activism on campus is demonised, particularly when challenging the presence of Israeli speakers complicit in human rights abuses. In the past, the college has suppressed student voices and not only failed to respect our right to peaceful disapproval but condemned it.
KCLAP condemns the decision of KCL and KCLSU to provide a platform to Daniel Scheuftan, despite the fact we showed clear evidence of how the event went against the external speaker policy by Schueftan’s promotion of intolerance, racism and hate towards a particular group of people. Once again, it is clear that our university is protecting its own interests and the interests of the groups they receive funding from, caving to outside pressures. Freedom of speech under Zionist lobbyists, a cover for racism and colonialist practices, demonstrates the absolute disparity in power.
You can find more information about the event’s speaker and read the emails we sent to the principal here & here.
KCLAP considers this evening to be a victory for the society and for the movement because we focused our energy and work in sending love and solidarity messages to our friends in Palestine for the UN Day of Solidarity with Palestine. Look out for the video which will be released soon!
We are also extremely excited to announce the launch of a new campaign:
Demilitarise King’s! Through KCLAP’s research last year, and with the help from our friends at Fossil Free, we found out that King’s has invested around £1.5 million in arms companies! The ethical implications of this go way beyond Palestine (BAE Systems, for example is well known for selling arms to Saudi Arabia). The campaign is now under the umbrella of the KCL Anti-Racism Campaigning Network. The campaign wants to ensure that King’s divests from arms companies and companies that are complicit in human right abuses/have connections with rogue states or states that break international law and ensure that funding for projects and scholarships don’t come from unethical sources. You can sign and support the campaign here & sign the open letter to the principal here.
For freedom, equality and return.