LSE investigating anti-Semitic comments at Falk event

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LSE investigating anti-Semitic comments at Falk event

London School of Economics will probe claims that an audience member told students to read Holocaust denial literature

Richard Falk
Richard Falk

A top university is to investigate claims that anti-Semitic remarks were made during an event at the London School of Economics this week.

LSE will look into alleged “hate speech” at an event they hosted on Monday night, when audience member Gilad Atzmon, told students to read the works of notorious Holocaust denier David Irving.

Atzmon was in the audience for the event, a panel discussion featuring Professor Richard Falk, who previously offered an endorsement for the former’s book, ‘The Wandering Who’.

A spokesperson for LSE told Jewish News: “Regrettably, there were a number of disruptions during the event which were dealt with by the security personnel in attendance. Following the event, the School received complaints that- additionally- a member of the public in the audience was heard making anti-Semitic comments. The School is investigating these complaints, after which appropriate action will be taken. Hate speech is any form is unacceptable.”

Following the event, Board of Deputies president Jonathan Arkush told Jewish students not to study at the London School of Economics because the prestigious university hosted professor Falk.

In an unusual move, Jonathan Arkush “strongly advised” Jewish students to avoid LSE, after chiefs stood by their decision to invite the former United Nations Special Rapporteur to Palestine.

In response to Arkush’s comments, a joint statement was issued by Students Union and  LSESU Jewish Society officials. They said: “The SU is disappointed and dismayed to see that the School failed to seriously acknowledge and respond to the concerns raised by Jewish students regarding the invitation of Richard Falk on campus on the 20th March 2017. Despite the heads of the School, as well as the department, being contacted about these concerns in advance of the event, the issues were not replied to.

Professor Falk’s recent co-authored report for a UN commission accuses Israel of “apartheid,” and in his former UN role he accused the state of “war crimes”. He was speaking in London on Monday at the launch of his book Palestine’s Horizon: Towards a Just Peace, in which he says Jerusalem has been “ethnically cleansed”.

In 2012, the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office condemned Falk for providing the cover endorsement for Atzmon’s book The Wandering Who, which accuses “the Jews” of being “the only people who managed to maintain and sustain a racially-orientated, expansionist and genocidal national identity that is not at all different from Nazi ethnic ideology”.

Falk’s address was interrupted at the event by both pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian activists shouting accusations. Two pro-Israel activists – Jonathan Hoffman and Sharon Klaff – were removed for disruption.

LSE defended hosting the talk, saying: “We are committed to encouraging the free exchange of ideas in an atmosphere of respect, even on issues over which views differ sharply, such as the Middle East.”



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