British police were called to the scene of an eruption of anti-Israel violence aimed at disturbing an Israeli speaker on the campus of Kings College London (KCL). Ironically, the speaker was left-wing peace activist Ami Ayalon.
Chanting “Free Palestine,” “Viva Viva Palestina” and “From the River to the Sea Palestine will be free,” angry demonstrators smashed a window of a room at the London university where an event hosting a former Israeli security official was being held.
The event, which was co-organized by the KCL and London School of Economics Israel Societies, was a lecture by former Shin Bet chief, Israeli Labor Party member and peace activist Ami Ayalon.
According to co-organizer David Tamman and other witnesses, before Ayalon even began his talk, a group of about 25 protesters who had tried to enter the venue and disrupt the event began to scream, wave placards and throw chairs, while banging on the windows of the room in which it was held. This was after they and many others who had come to hear the lecture were unable to get in, due to a lack of space. The room reserved for the occasion reportedly had space for some 50-60 people, when double that number turned up.
One of the event’s organizers, Esther Endfield, co-president — with Tamman — of the KCL Israel Society, was physically assaulted by anti-Israel activists, who also ran up and down the four stories of the building in which the event was held, repeatedly setting off its fire alarms. Endfield said that though she had taken precautions prior to the event by arranging to have three campus security guards and three Safe Space officers on the premises, she hadn’t expected to end up filing a complaint with police or “crying hysterically for over half an hour because I was so terrified.”
Due to what all attendees described as an extremely menacing atmosphere – caught on the cellphone cameras of a number of people present – several police cars and more than 15 constables arrived to protect the people who had made it into the room to hear Ayalon.
“When did I become so unsafe in a prominent university that I cannot attend or hold an event without being afraid?” she asked.
Blogger Richard Millett, who attended the event and later blogged about it, wrote:
These activists from SOAS, KLC and LSE Palestine Societies had already handed out leaflets attacking Ami Ayalon and Israel. But with their being shut outside, chaos ensued with the police being called… The activists’ leaflets, after incriminating Ayalon and Shin Bet in war crimes, accused Ayalon of being ‘overtly racist’ for supporting a two state solution because this implies ‘Israeli Jews must always be a majority…due to a fear of losing the ethnic and colonial supremacy Israel has enjoyed since 1948.’
Following the event, the UK Union of Jewish Students released the following statement:
There can be no justification for the events last night at KCL. The KCLSU Israel society were hosting an event about peace and were greeted by violence and intimidation. The fact that the police had to be called by the university in order to protect students from fellow students is a disgrace.
It is however important to note that these acts were caused by a loud minority. Just 25 people managed to disrupt an event attended by nearly 60 while over 100 others who wished to hear the speaker and engage positively were turned away as there was no more space for them.
Lastly we would like to commend the organisers of last night’s events for their commitment throughout. The intimidation of last night will not stop Jewish students across the country from ensuring that campus can be presented with a balanced debate about Israel.
Watch the video clip of the protesters here:
By: The Algemeiner
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