I was appalled by violence directed at members of UCL Israel Society and Jewish students at UCL last week.
Two Jewish students were attacked while they were attending a talk by Israeli humanitarian organiser Hen Mazzig. The event – open to all students – was hosted by the UCL Union Friends of Israel Society, which promotes Israeli culture, not Israeli government policy.
UCL is my alma mater and – as one of the world’s top universities – should be one of Camden’s greatest prides.
I am a friend of Israel, and have helped to establish Israel Societies on two university campuses. But moreover, I am a friend of different viewpoints being able to be expressed without anyone resorting to violence to stamp out another’s.
These sorts of attacks are sadly increasingly regular occurrences on British university campuses and elsewhere. Academia is supposed to be able the challenging of ideas through open dialogue and academic discourse, not silencing through violence and intimidation those you disagree with.
Our city’s reputation for openness and tolerance is undermined every time attacks like this occur. Our borough’s outstretched arms look a little less inviting each time these incidents go unchecked and their lessons go unlearned.
As a result, I urge the Metropolitan Police and UCL to investigate last night’s actions fully. It’s important not just to get to the bottom of events that took place, but also the driving factors behind them to prevent yet another repeat.
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