University College Cork. (Shutterstock) (Shutterstock)
University College Cork

A victory for pro-Israel activists! Due to a campaign launched by Irish4Israel, an anti-Israel conference at UCC was postponed indefinitely.  

Ireland’s prestigious University College Cork indefinitely postponed an extremely anti-Israel conference scheduled for the end of March.

Of the 47 visiting professors slated to attend the UCC’s conference, only two are considered pro-Israel. It is clear the conference had deliberately been set up to ensure that very few pro-Israel voices would be heard.

So extreme was this conference that it was even endorsed by the far-right website “Aryan Street.”

The indefinite postponement of the event is apparently the result of intense joint efforts by pro-Israel organizations.

Since being made aware of this conference, Irish4Israel, an Irish based pro-Israel activist group, launched a campaign calling for balanced debate.

Professor James Bowen of the Computer Science at UCC, one of the supporters of the anti-Israel conference, claimed it was about academic free speech. In reality, the conference was only one step above an Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign rally with a few academic degrees thrown in, Irish4Israel said.

“Bowen and most of the activist speakers, over 30 in total, advocate academic boycotts of Israel. These academics can’t demand free speech and freedom of thought or association for themselves and deny it to others” said an Irish4Israel spokesperson.

Irish4Israel led a campaign that called for a balanced conference, which United with Israel (UWI) joined and supported.

“THANK YOU so much to YOU, you helped achieve this. I can’t say thanks enough. I am really happy,” Irish4Israel wrote UWI upon learning that the campaign was a success.

Is the Battle Over?

However, it appears that the battle for Israel is not over yet.

“We are disappointed UCC has only acknowledged security concerns, but has not sought greater balance for the conference if it is to be rescheduled. We believe in open discussion and freedom of speech. Israel is the only country in the Middle East with freedom of press, freedom of association, free academia and the right to protest or join a union. Values which are at the core of an open, pluralist democracy. If this conference is to be rescheduled, it must be a balanced and more open conference,” Irish4Israel stated.

“Had conference organizers’ facilitated greater academic discussion rather than an echo chamber of anti-Israel bias, this conference would not have needed to be postponed. So while the usual suspects will blame the ‘pro-Israel lobby,’ in reality their own bias and inability to provide a platform for respectful debate resulted in the event being cancelled. These same people are so obsessed they would blame the ‘Zionist’ or ‘pro-Israel lobb’” if the weather had been bad for the conference,” Irish4Israel concluded.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel