CAMERA Fellow Simon Moos

‘F*** KCL! Israel is a terrorist state!’ shouted anti-Israel activists led by KCL Action Palestine (KCLAP), a student-led association aiming to eradicate the Jewish State, on Tuesday, November 13.

Protesters gathered in front of the Franklin-Wilkins Building in reaction to the presence of the Rt. Hon. Ambassador Regev, the Israeli Ambassador to the UK. Mr. Regev came to speak to the KCL Israeli and Diplomacy societies about the challenges that Israel faces. The series of events which took place on that evening may have seemed unsurprising. Indeed, anti-Israel activism has, over the years, become a routine element of the academic framework and a rallying cause for anti-Western and social justice crusaders. However, what happened on that evening was anything but typical. On the contrary, the fierce demonstrations that took place in front of the Strand and Waterloo campuses were the result of a well-designed and institutionally corrupt strategy.

The KCLSU Risk Assessment team dictated that for this particular event, the identity of our high-profile speaker would be kept confidential. In the name of security, the Student Union also deemed it appropriate to cap the event organised by the Israel Society to 20 attendees, and to send a Safe Space Marshall to monitor the content of Mr. Regev’s speech.

Whilst such restrictive measures could be seen as precautions taken in the name of security, they were, in reality, the result of a sabotage attempt. The very presence of a Safe Space Marshall at such a small event only reinforces the marginalisation of an already popular attempt to marginalise the Jewish State by labelling the visit of an Israeli diplomat as a potential source of ‘hatred’.

Were the restrictions imposed by KCLSU for security reasons, why was the identity of the Israeli diplomat released to a certain group of individuals before the event itself? The students who attended the event discovered the identity of the speaker only at the time the talk started. Yet KCL Action Palestine somehow managed to post a 500 word-long statement featuring 10 other student societies’ signatures whilst simultaneously gathering more than 50 protestors outside the campus before the very event had begun. Unless endowed with extraordinary last-minute timing skills, the anti-Israel group had been informed of the speaker’s identity much in advance.

Let us recall that the Student Union has been the subject of complaints in the past regarding anti-Israel bias. In February 2018, the Student Union deliberately sent all students at King’s an email promoting ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ and BDS, an anti-Israel campaign classified as anti-semitic by the Anti-Defamation League. During the same month KCLSU’s former president  Momin Saqib spearheaded a hectic protest in reaction to a talk by Dan Meridor, Israel’s former justice minister. Later in May, the Student Union posted a picture on Facebook which featured a KCLSU staff member wearing a ‘Boycott Israeli Apartheid’ tag — a picture supposedly used to welcome new students. Given this context, the recent attempt to sabotage Mr. Regev’s talk hardly seems surprising.

It turns out that some KCLSU officers had leaked the identity of the speaker to their fellow anti-Israel friends. Two of the KCLSU members were identified among the protestors namely Robert Liow and Mohammed Salhi. The latter had been seen taking an active part in the protest shouting chants such as ‘from the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free’, promoting the destruction of the Israeli State. Moreover, an anonymous informer has revealed that a current member of the KCLAP committee confessed to obtaining the Ambassador’s identity from the Student Union. In other words, KCLSU tried to stifle a KCLSU’s ratified group on the basis of security while unlawfully putting the same group and the Israeli diplomat at risk. This constitutes an abuse of power and is judicially reprehensible.

KCLAP President leading the protest at Franklin-Wilkins Building gateway. Photo: KCLAP Facebook

As if that story could not get grimmer, it does. In its attempt to take part in a protest discriminating against a society it is supposed to represent, the Student Union did not stop at mere personal involvement. After careful scrutiny of all signs and banners used at the demonstration, it appears that one of them was branded by KCLSU itself. The banner in question read ‘Great March of Return’ with the Palestinian flag in the background. The Great March of Return consisted of violent riots initiated by the terrorist organisation Hamas. Hamas coerced its members as well as innocent Palestinian civilians to invade Israel through the Gaza border last May. On the KCLSU banner aimed at honouring the ‘martyrs’ of the highly publicised event, the ‘martyrs’ names were written both in English and Arabic. Later, the banner was analysed by CAMERA Arabic, the Arabic department of CAMERA, an international non-profit, media-monitoring organisation. The results of the investigation were purely staggering. It appears that 19 of the names featured on the KCLSU banner were directly or indirectly related to terrorist groups. Among those names, seven were members of Hamas, a totalitarian Jihadist terrorist group which has maintained a solid grip on power in Gaza since 2005. Hamas openly calls for the annihilation of Israel as well as Jews across the world. Since its establishment, the group has committed countless human rights abuses including indiscriminate assassination of Israeli civilians, deadly oppression of Palestinian homosexuals, subjugation of women, use of children as human shields as well as innumerable rocket attacks on the Jewish State every year. In June 2014, three Israeli teenagers named Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel were kidnapped by Hamas. Once they were, they went through heavy torture and were eventually assassinated, their bodies were later found in Hebron.

From left: Gilad Shaarh, Naftali Frenkel, Eyal Yifrah. Photo: EPA

Such an organisation is shamelessly honoured by King’s Student Union. The same organisation that pretends to be protecting its students from ideological ‘harm’, the same organisation that uses its privilege and safe space restrictions to shut down dissenting views, the same organisation that swears by far-left political correctness celebrates anti-semitic terrorism. KCLSU has become a tool to deprive the freedom of speech of some for the benefit of others. While the mourning of Hamas members is encouraged, Israel—the only liberal democracy in the Middle-East— is subject to coercive regulations. This double-standard policy is simply appalling, unfair and morally wrong.

It is time to put an end to the abusive rule of this political police.

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