It is now customary on Western campuses for Palestinian and pro-Palestinian activists to disrupt lectures by Israelis. IAM reported on the previous cases such as Ami Pedahtzur at the University of Texas. Last week it was former Shin-Bet chief, Admiral (ret.) Ami Ayalon in King's College London.
It is worth noting that the Israeli lecturers that belong to the peace camp are also targeted. Ayalon is a case in point. In 2002, Ayalon co-sponsored with Sari Nussiebeh the peace initiative which was signed by over 420,000 individual Israelis and Palestinians. In 2005 Ayalon toured the US to promote The People’s Voice Initiative for an Israeli-Palestinian peace, on behalf of Amenu, a group promoting Progressive Zionism. As described in the article "Israeli Security Chief Turns to Peace Activism" it was a grassroots effort aimed at giving the Israeli and Palestinian leaders the support needed to make peace.
This initiative promoted two states for the two peoples; The borders will be based on the June 4, 1967 borders, with mutually agreed territorial swap; Jerusalem will be the capital of both states. The Arab neighborhoods will be under Palestinian sovereignty, Jewish neighborhoods under Israeli sovereignty, and the holy basin under no sovereignty; Palestinian refugees will return only to Palestine. Jews will return only to Israel; The Palestinian state will be demilitarized; and an end of conflict."
In his article "My Vision for Peace
" Ayalon wrote, "We Israelis see Hamas as a terror organization and we are right. But we must understand that Hamas is not only a terrorist organization. It is also a way of life and a religious movement. Hamas has charities, they have municipal organizations, and they have financial organizations. Hamas will not fight against the will of the Palestinian street. They will not use terror when Palestinians do not approve of terrorism as a legitimate tool."
"When Palestinians see progress in the political process (the peace process) they do not approve terror as a legitimate tool. This is why when the Palestinians felt like they were achieving freedom, less humiliation, and an improved economy they did not approve of Hamas or terror. For this reason the PA could fight against terror and Hamas without being perceived as Israeli collaborators. I used to meet the Palestinian security leaders monthly. People like Jibril Rajub, Mohammad Dahlan, Hamin al-Hindi and others. We met to share information and cooperate in fighting terror."
"They cooperated with me because they understood that at the end of the road they will achieve their freedom as a result of the process which included fighting terror."
"What we understood then was that the hope of the Palestinian people was the main reason why we were able to reduce the level of violence the way we did it during the late 1990’s. In a way this is the main assumption of the People’s Voice campaign. We have to create hope amongst Palestinians and Israelis because this will create the necessary energy to do what needs to be done. For the Palestinians this means fighting terror the way they did in the late 1990’s."
For the lecture in King's College Ayalon was brought by Yachad which engages British Jewry in education and debate around the Israel-Palestine conflict and "work to galvanise the British Jewish community in support of a two-state solution."
The violent disturbance at King's College London prompted Ed Byrne, the President, to announce an investigation into the case.
The interruption at the Ayalon lecture is not an aberration, and indeed, not limited to Israel only. It is part of a larger phenomenon on Western campuses where freedom of speech is reserved for the politically correct group. All others have to be silenced though intimidation and harassment.
20th January 2016
Pro-Palestinian activists raided a talk by the former head of the Israeli secret police at King’s College London last night.
Demonstrators entered the Macadam building chanting, breaking windows, throwing chairs and setting off multiple fire alarms before police were called.
Israeli politician and former head of Shin Bet Ami Ayalon was giving a speech to approximately 56 students when security stopped protesters who had gained access to the building from entering the room.
“I thought the security were amazing because they managed to prevent any protestors from entering the event itself.” said one student. “They can’t help what people do in the street but they managed to keep the protest contained and outside the event… the protest started within 3 minutes and then the fire alarm with 5 minutes”
Another 150 students had been turned away due to lack of space and many students who wished to attend the event were outside, according to the Israel society.
Three KCL safe space officers and two security guards had been arranged in advance of the event in anticipation of protests.
KCL Action Palestine released a statement prior to the event: “As of today, KCL Action Palestine has not received any official information from the Student’s Union (KCLSU) as to why Ami Ayalon was let to speak alone without fair and balanced representation of voices in the panel. This is a requirement when it comes to controversial speakers under the union’s External Speaker’s Policy.”
Police confirmed that officers were called at 7.18pm on 19 January with reports of a number of protesters on Surrey Street outside King’s students’ union building. Some of protesters gained access to the building and protests ended at 8.45pm with no arrests.
The KCL Israeli Society issued a statement on their Facebook page describing the scenes and apologising to its members. They say the society did not anticipate violence nor having to report assault to the police and claim at least 15 officers attended the scene, a number also reported by The Tab.
Footage of the event was posted on Facebook with the caption “it doesn’t represent how truly terrifying it actually was”.
In the statement a committee member wrote: “Never did I ever think that I would have to write a post like this, but in life sometimes you do things that you never expect.
“My event had to be stopped and the building evacuated because college security and the police were so scared that they would light a real fire and that we wouldn’t know because of the false alarms. When did I become so unsafe in one of the global universities in the world that we can no longer hold an event without being scared for our safety.
“Also sincere apologies to the 200+ people that came to our event to listen and learn, I’m truly sorry that it turned violent and to the 150 of you that got turned away because only 56 people being allowed into the room. Thank you for coming along and giving an Israel society a chance to have its voice heard.”
Other accounts of the event feature statements from witnesses, one claiming that Palestine activists were heard chanting ‘Free Free Palestine’ and ‘Viva Viva Palestina’ and pushing Palestinian flags against the windows of the room in which the event was taking place.
Universities Minister Jo Johnson spoke to Jewish News condeming the protestors: “Britain and Israel share many important academic links and speakers must be able to address meetings peacefully. Our universities should be safe spaces for students to expand their minds, and there can be no justification for violent intimidation that curtails free speech.”
London Student contacted KCL Action Palestine but received no response at the time of writing.
Video of the interruption of the Ami Ayalon lecutre at King's College London
An evening discussing Israel's security with Ami Ayalon, former head of the Shin Bet (Israel's secret Security Service)
An evening discussing Israel's security with Ami Ayalon, former head of the Shin Bet (Israel's secret Security Service)
KCL Israel Society are pleased to bring you this event. Admiral, Ami Ayalon is the former director of Israel's Security Agency (the Shin Bet/Shabak) between 1996 and 2000 and is a former commander of Israel's Navy. He has served as a cabinet minister and as a member of the Knesset for the Labour party. With much of the Middle East in turmoil and a stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process, he will focus on discussing the steps that are needed to bring stability and security to the region from a military perspective. He will also examine the question, 'is there a partner for peace?' and look at what relationships need to be built in the region to create a viable future peace agreement. He will also discuss his experiences as head of Israel’s main agency that combats terrorism, and to what extent the Israeli experience might be relevant to our own safety and security in the UK (in light of recent events in Europe).
Expect an evening of challenging discussion and, of course, free refreshments. Looking forward to seeing you all!
Esther and Eli
Ami is being brought to the UK by Yachad. Yachad engage British Jewry in education and debate around the Israel Palestine conflict and work to galvanise the British Jewish community in support of a two-state solution.
239 attendees (1053 invited)
Posted on 20/01/2016
Statement regarding the 'Security of Israel' event
Statement regarding the ‘Security of Israel’ event with external speaker Ami Ayalon, organised by KCL Israel Society and LSE Israel Society on 19 January 2016.
‘Universities create environments in which debate from all sides on issues of political, scientific, moral, ethical and religious significance is possible, and King’s is no exception. The safety of our students, staff and the general public is paramount to us and we are committed to acting as a responsible organisation.
Professor Ed Byrne, President & Principal, has appointed Ian Creagh, Head of Administration and College Secretary, to conduct an urgent investigation of the events around last night’s talk to establish what happened and what action might need to be taken as a consequence. Professor Byrne will also be writing to students to remind them that violent protest is totally unacceptable and that we expect them to be tolerant and respectful of others’ views and opinions.
We are proud of our diverse community and are absolutely committed to respect for all of our staff and students and to peaceful and respectful dialogue where people have conflicting views. We do not, and will not, condone the use of any form of violent protest.’
Email from President & Principal Professor Edward Bryne AC to students on 21 January 2016
I am writing to you following the distressing reports of events which took place during Ami Ayalon’s talk at King’s on 19 January, which was organised by KCL Israel Society and LSE Israel Society.
Universities create environments in which debate from all sides on issues of political, scientific, moral, ethical and religious significance is possible, and King’s is no exception.
We are proud of our diverse community and are absolutely committed to respect for all of our staff and students and to peaceful and respectful dialogue where people have conflicting views.
Intimidating behaviour is completely unacceptable and goes against everything that we stand for at King’s. We do not, and will not, condone the use of any form of violent protest.
I have appointed Ian Creagh, Head of Administration and College Secretary, to conduct an urgent investigation of the events around the talk to establish what happened and whether action might need to be taken as a consequence. That investigation will determine whether or not King’s students were involved.
At King’s we go to great lengths to protect free speech on campus and accept that peaceful protest has an important role to play in society.
However, I would urge all students to be respectful of their peers’ rights to hold different opinions and to debate these in a peaceful and constructive way through the many channels which exist at King’s and outside the university. This is the way we will protect freedom of speech at our university.
The safety of our students, staff and the general public is paramount to us and we all have a part to play in ensuring that no member of our community feels threatened or intimidated.
Professor Edward Byrne
President & Principal
Terms of reference of investigation conducted by Head of Administration and College Secretary
The purpose of the investigation of the incident that occurred on the evening of 19 January 2016 at the event jointly organised by the KCL and LSE Israel Societies and held in the Norfolk Building on the Strand Campus is to establish:
1. An accurate record of what occurred at the event which led to it being discontinued;
2. Whether there is evidence of behaviour contrary to the provisions of polices governing events held on campus, the academic regulations and student and staff safety-related policies;
3. The arrangements put in place to organise and manage the event; and
4. Policy changes and improvements to event management which will need to be considered for the conduct of future events where respectful dialogue and debate can take place between people who hold different views.
The Head of Administration and College Secretary will conduct the investigation. He will be assisted by internal and external support as necessary. All relevant parties will be contacted and given the opportunity to provide their views within the confines of the Investigation Terms of Reference.
The investigation report and recommendations will be addressed to the President and Principal for any further action.