A pattern on many campuses, particularly in London.
The anti-Israel movement, including Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists, seek to drive Israeli and pro-Israel speakers from college campuses through disruptions. The goal is to scare off not only speakers, but students who want to invite speakers.
The physical intimidation that accompanies this strategy goes beyond expressing disagreement.
We have covered these tactics dozens of times, as summarized and documented in my March 2017 post, With campus shout downs, first they came for the Jews and Israel:
Less violent, but still disruptive, attempts were made to shut down Rick Santorum and Michael Johns at Cornell, Christina Hoff Sommers at Oberlin, Georgetown and elsewhere. and other conservative speakers.
Finally, there is widespread condemnation even from the left, particularly after Middlebury.
Yet we have been covering shout-downs and violence directed at speakers on campus for several years, but for the most part these events never gained national media attention much less condemnation from the left. Because the speakers who were disrupted were mostly Jewish Israelis and supporters of Israel. Not all those shouted down or attacked were Jewish, but all were deemed supportive of Zionism, the recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jews.
The perpetrators frequently acted under the banner of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and Students for Justice in Palestine, or similar anti-Israel groups.
Kings College London has become notorious for the violent opposition to Israeli and pro-Israel speakers, as we wrote about an incident in January 2016, Anti-Israel protest at Kings College turns violent:
… protesters at Kings College in London violently tried to break into a visiting lecture by an Israeli speaker. Richard Millet was in attendance, and reports Police prevent activists smashing into Ami Ayalon talk at King’s:
I was patiently queuing for Ami Ayalon’s joint KCL and LSE Israel Societys’ talk outside the Norfolk Building of King’s College, London tonight. I had arrived early and was near the front of the queue but soon the doors were closed as the room held only 50.
50 to 60 people were left shut outside on the street, among them 15 fuming anti-Israel activists who had planned to get in and disrupt the talk.
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.
Ayalon was head of Israel’s Shin Bet between 1996 and 2000 and then served as a Labour MK. He also launched a peace initiative called The People’s Voice. He’s now in the UK being whisked around by Yachad to give various talks, the gist of which seem to be Israel needs to mend its ways….
As soon as the doors shut the frustrated anti-Israel activists pounded the doors and the windows looking into the talk. They screamed “Free Free Palestine”, “Viva Viva Palestina” and “From the River to the Sea Palestine will be free” and smashed a window.
They then climbed the windows to unfurl a banner. A fire alarm was set off and eventually police vans and police cars pulled up and 20 police constables protected the building.
Here is some of the footage I filmed last night of people banging on the windows and intimidating those inside pic.twitter.com/0hKTo48qC9
— Russell Langer (@R_Langer) January 20, 2016
London seems to be a particular hotbed of riotous behavior directed towards Israelis, as we reported in October 2016, BDS thugs attack Israeli speaker and crowd at University College London:
— SussexFriendsofIsrael (@SussexFriends) October 27, 2016
I had to be rushed out of the event at @UCL with security. The campus was the war zone and the streets are the safe place. I'm out. My god.
— Hen Mazzig (@HenMazzig) October 27, 2016
Now it has happened again at Kings College London, as Jewish News (Britain) reports, Police called as protesters disrupt uni event with former Israeli deputy PM:
A screaming crowd of about 60 students barracked an Israel Society meeting held at Kings College London’s campus, resulting in the police being called to ensure the safety of the audience and the speaker, the former Israeli deputy prime minister, Dan Meridor….
The meeting was jointly held by Kings Israel Society, City University Israel Society, and a new campus organisation, the Pinsker Centre, a UK based organisation whose mission, it says, “is to preserve freedom of speech on British university campuses and allow a non-hostile platform for discussion on Israel”….
Students bearing red and green daubed posters, with the words “War Criminal” roughly scribbled on them, began screaming at anyone who was making their way into the hall to hear Mr Meridor….
Kings College security men, who patrolled inside the hall throughout, would only allow those who had previously registered into the event, in order to avoid disruption; but chanting and screaming from outside continued throughout Mr Meridor’s address and the question and answer session which followed, making it at times impossible to hear the speaker….
… after the meeting concluded, Kings Israel Society president Tamara Behrens announced that the police had been called and that anyone who did not feel comfortable running the gauntlet of the protesters should wait inside the hall until the police arrived.
In the end most of the audience chose to walk through the screaming, baying crowd. One Kings student who had nothing to do with either side was thoroughly fed up. He told the JN: “All they [the protesters] want to do is yell and intimidate, and I can’t stand it.”
The Jewish Chronicle (Britain) adds:
Tamara Berens, the CAMERA on Campus UK Associate and president of the King’s College London Israel Society, told the JC that students left the lecture to “fingers pointed in our faces”.
She added: “They came onto campus this evening with one aim; to intimidate us and shut down our event. They coordinated their voices to scream throughout the talk, without even a minute to allow us to listen to the speaker in peace.
“We have nothing to be ashamed about. The shameful behaviour this evening was that of protesters who do not respect the right of Israelis to free speech. The shame is on those who would rather take away our platform to speak than engage with us openly.
“It is disgraceful that in 2018, Jewish university students should be made to feel afraid or ashamed to walk freely on campus.”
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