Dozens of police were deployed to an event at a London university last night, after anti-Israel protesters smashed windows, threw chairs, set off fire alarms and “assaulted” a speaker. No arrests were made.
Over 100 students had turned up to hear Ami Ayalon, the former head of Israel’s secret service, speak at King’s College last night. However, his talk was disrupted and then called off because of the actions of around 60 violent protestors from the ‘Action Palestine’ group.
“As soon as the doors shut the frustrated anti-Israel activists pounded the doors and the windows looking into the talk,” explained eye witness Richard Millett. Protesters waved Palestinian flags and shouted, “Free Palestine!” and “F*ck Israel!”
“They then climbed the windows to unfurl a banner. A fire alarm was set off and eventually police vans and police cars pulled up and 20 police constables protected the building”, writes Mr. Millett.
“Ironically, Ayalon was talking in front of a white board describing the rules for “safe spaces” at universities. But there is no ‘safe space’ for an Israeli-Jew at British universities”, he added.
David Tamman, a student of Political Science at the London School of Economics and the event’s co-host, Esther Endfield, both claim to have been “assaulted” during the uproar.
Mr. Tamman says that the alleged assault has now been reported to the police and is “being investigated under a hate crime”.
He claimed on Facebook that there were “chairs thrown at the room and at me” and that “two police vans along with 15 + officers came to protect the people inside the room”.
“When did I become so unsafe in one of the global universities in the world (sic) that we can no longer hold an event without being scared for our safety”?
VIDEO: Students set off fire alarm and bang doors to disrupt Israel Society event at Kings College London last night pic.twitter.com/WMyqQbs3AM
— Student Rights (@Student_Rights) January 20, 2016
The Student Union’s “safe space” policy claims that the institution is “committed to providing an inclusive and supportive space for all our student members” and “believe[s] all students should be free from intimidation or harassment resulting from prejudice or discrimination on the grounds… race, religious beliefs… ideology or culture”.
“Two female friends of mine cried from the fear and abuse and I stood there staring at a poster on the door declaring Kings College London to be a ‘safe space’ and thought – what a lie”, exclaimed Mr. Tamman.
“The truth is, universities across the UK are not safe spaces (if you happen to be a Zionist Jew). It shocks me how universities and students seem to obsess on the provision of ‘safe spaces’ when a few students are offended by an old statue in Oxford (Cecil Rhodes), whilst there is a total disregard for Israel supporting Jews who are intimidated on a constant basis (in this case even assaulted)”, he wrote.
Continuing: “Protecting the free speech of violent protesters violated the free speech of Ami, a man who merely wanted to engage in dialogue with a receptive audience. This is a sad state of affairs. What about his freedom to speak? What about our freedom to listen?”
“I’ve genuinely had enough” he writes, before promising to “continue because giving up is exactly what these hate-filled, extremist cretins desire” and claiming the next event is already being planned. “Jewish and Israeli students will not be silenced.”
King’s College Action Palestine issued a statement before the event, in which they claimed that “Ayalon’s position makes him no different from the more overtly racist Zionists in the current Likud government”.
They also claimed it is “unacceptable” “to collaborate with any person, organisation and institution complicit in war crimes or human rights violations”, or ” to give voice, under the guise of a failed peace process, to an alleged war criminal.”
“Having war criminals to speak at the expense of Palestinian voices and that try to whitewash apartheid is not academic freedom. It is complicity with systematic oppression.”
The Metropolitan Police confirmed that no arrests had been made. A spokesman said: “Police were called at 17:18hrs on Tuesday, 19 January, to reports of a number of protesters outside a university campus in Surrey Street, WC2.
“Officers attended and found that a small number of those protesting had gained access to the building where they continued their protest. The demonstration concluded at approximately 18:45.”
As Spiked’s Free Speech University Rankings have highlighted, official sanctioned anti-Israel attacks and censorship on campus have exploded in recent years.
Thirteen students’ unions now back the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and four have introduced full academic boycotts, meaning representatives of Israeli institutions are banned outright.