Anger as anti-Israel speakers tell UCL: ‘Zionists should be treated like Nazis’

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Anger as anti-Israel speakers tell UCL: ‘Zionists should be treated like Nazis’

Board of Deputies press University College London for hosting anti-Zionist speakers, saying it went “beyond free speech”.

Miko Peled (left) and Azzam Tamimi (right) at UCL in 2017. Both spoke at Labour conference in 2019 
Credit: Azzam Tamimi on Twitter
Miko Peled (left) and Azzam Tamimi (right) at UCL in 2017. Both spoke at Labour conference in 2019 Credit: Azzam Tamimi on Twitter

The Board of Deputies has said it is pressing University College London for hosting an Israeli anti-Zionist on Friday, saying it went “beyond free speech”.

Miko Peled, a fierce critic of Israel, provoked the Board’s “anger and dismay” after attending the campus meeting with Palestinian activist Azzam Tamimi, where they discussed “life under apartheid Israel”. 

The UCL audience was told that “Zionists should be treated like Nazis, while Peled is believed to have said that Israel was engaged in “ethnic cleansing”. 

Peled provoked communal anger in September, appearing at an unofficial fringe event during the Labour Party conference, in which he asked whether people should be free to debate the Holocaust. 

In a letter to the University Provost Professor Michael Arthur this week, Board president Jonathan Arkush expressed his “deep disappointment” that the event went ahead, saying the views of the speakers “go beyond the legal and regulatory boundaries of free speech”.

He wrote: “At the event on Friday, these extremist and anti-Semitic speakers were given a platform in contravention of your own policies… The event was a forum for hate speech, not accepted discourse.” 

The University stood by its decision since it “supports freedom of speech provided it stays within the law”. Last year UCL hosted a former IDF commander last year, which provoked an angry response from pro-Palestinian students.

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