This letter can also be found on Facebook.
Rex Knight, Vice-Provost (Operations) UCL
I was present at the event at the UCL campus when anti-Israel demonstrators attempted to no platform an Israeli speaker. I was there because I had been asked to attend. Jewish students became aware of the protest and rather than cancel because of the intimidation, asked some Jewish adults if they would protect them in a show of support. I went to protect Jewish students on your campus. How shameful is that.
I am not interested in the political opinions of those that chose to oppose the speaker. Just two days prior to this event I was at the House of Lords to hear suggestions that the Zionists were responsible for the holocaust and talk about Jewish money and power. I have thick skin.
However, given the conflicting narratives, I wish to give my own input. I am not going into long detail, merely to focus on central issues:
When we arrived, we could see that the anti-camp was already in control. There was a high level of organisation in the protest camp, clear pre-planning and without doubt, assistance from the ‘inside’.
The Facebook messages prior to the event were clear. This was an attempt to shut down or prevent the event. That eventually, it went ahead elsewhere, albeit with the noise outside, was down to the persistence of the organisers, and nothing to do with the protest camp. They should not be allowed to suggest this was their intent. The president of FoP is caught on camera celebrating the fact the speaker *would not be speaking*
I have seen the FOP at UCL suggest this was not their protest. This too is nonsense. I have seen footage of the president of FoP at UCL talking to the police about permissions that *he sought* about the protest.
I also have footage where the same person tells the police ‘they are done’ and ‘going home’ with their point proven. This saw the police leave thinking it was over. Of course, they did not go home, they went to stop the event elsewhere. This footage is online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3JwBxZi44Q
I suggest you look at the whole footage. Of additional interest is the confrontation involving another one of your students intimidating the security official. This is how it works. But hey, he probably won’t admit he was intimidated, your campus is too far gone for that now.
I also saw the president of FoP, tell the Jewish students and supporters they’d ‘think twice’ about coming back.
In the end, like the other Jewish people, I was left inside a room, with people banging on the windows until the police could organise our escape. We were told we could not leave until our safety had been assured.
On the day of the event, I passed through your campus. I have been before. It is impressive. Outside were some food stalls. One had ’Egyptian Sandwiches’ printed in bold letters. You know, Egypt has a blockade on Gaza, Egypt has killed Hamas members, Egypt has destroyed homes, created a security belt and flooded tunnels.
Whether you wish to admit it or not, if that stall had been titled ‘Israeli sandwiches’ it would have provided a whole different scenario. The issue isn’t nor ever has been Palestinians. As was clearly stated by another student the problem is the state with a ‘Jewish majority’. We don’t need that, she said. It is the existence of a Jewish state that bothers these people. Therefore, they protest. If it was about Palestinians, they’d protest the Egyptian sandwich stall. Ask them why they didn’t?
Freedom of speech, the right to protest, these only work when rigorously applied in both directions. Else you remove the right to protest or allow a hecklers veto to silence voices. Again let us be frank, the only voice that is silenced on campus in such intimidating fashion is the Jewish voice. And the vast majority of those who stand and scream at the Zionist Jews are Muslim. It has often been said, it starts with the Jews. Inaction now, will come back to haunt us all.
I have little faith you will do anything but cover this up with meek suggestions, empty words and meaningless gestures. I was there, I know what intimidation is and how it works. These students, these Jews, will they put themselves through it again? If you were Jewish, if you supported Israel, wouldn’t you simply leave your support at home.
This intimidation works because it silences people without the need for actual violence. In fact, this is part of a Middle Eastern problem. Thugs on streets before elections is a disease rampant in the Middle East. Elections are decided by the most intimidating.
So well done, you are well on your way to mimicking mob rule. Showing us all how democracy can fail the people it is meant to protect by allowing its freedoms to be abused by those who have no regard for those freedoms at all. And next year, when there is no violence and no protests because Jews have been successfully intimidated, you can proudly declare your university is a bastion of free speech.
I accept there is little I can say or do to affect the outcome. But I can tell you that *my children will not be going to UCL*. No way. It is not a safe university for Jews. It is what I will tell anyone who asks and I won’t be told otherwise. I was there, I saw it.
You need to hang your heads in shame