Concerns shared with UCL head over anti-Israel protest

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Concerns shared with UCL head over anti-Israel protest

Community leaders met with the university Provost to air concerns about 'intimidating ' opposition to an Israeli speaker last month

Demonstrators disrupting an event with Israeli speaker at UCL campus.
Demonstrators disrupting an event with Israeli speaker at UCL campus.

Jewish communal and student leaders have expressed their concerns following an “intimidating and aggressive” anti-Israel protest at UCL last month to the University’s President and Provost, Professor Michael Arthur.

The delegation included Jewish students studying at UCL, as well as representatives from the Union of Jewish Students, the Jewish Leadership Council, the University Jewish Chaplaincy, the Community Security Trust and the Board of Deputies.

In a joint statement issued after the meeting, they said: “We emphasised the community’s strong concerns over the intimidating and aggressive protests that took place on 27 October. There was a constructive and robust discussion on how these protests were handled by the university.”

The pro-Palestinian protest was against the appearance on campus of a former IDF soldier who now works with pro-Israel group StandWithUs. His talk had been organised by student group Friends of Israel, and several Jewish students later reported that they had been “pushed”.

University bosses have set up an inquiry into the incident, and in particular the security arrangements made for it, after police officers were called in to shuttle the speaker and participants safely from the building.

The student-led delegation said Arthur and his team had “emphasised that while the right to lawful protest would be protected, this would not override their commitment to free speech within the law or to the safety of students… We intend to ensure that the actions agreed at the meeting will be fully and effectively followed through”.

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