The Student Union of Queen’s University in Belfast staged a sit-in today in protest at the visit of Israeli ambassador Mark Regev to the university, to express their solidarity with Palestinian people:
The protest also aimed to highlight attempts by pro-Israel activists to prevent discussion on university campuses of the plight of Palestinians and the promotion of the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) campaign to boycott goods and services from illegally occupied Palestinian territories.
The Zionist Federation responded to the student union’s tweet about their opposition by asking whether the students “support the call from protesters to eradicate Israel from map [sic]”:
However, an examination of the image it posted to support its question didn’t appear to contain anything showing a call for the eradication of Israel, simply expressions of support and calls for BDS:
Numerous troll accounts and others attacked the students for their protest, including – with astonishing ignorance of history – complaints that students or universities should not be political.
But other Twitter users congratulated them for their principled stand or criticised Israel’s ‘racist’ nation-state law. The meeting between Regev and the university’s vice-chancellor seems to have proceeded peacefully.
Universities are not the only places where attempts have been made to shut down protests or pro-BDS campaigns. Barnet council recently passed a motion to withdraw support for, and refuse venue bookings by, organisations who support BDS, in spite of council workers’ unions officially supporting the campaign.
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