Israeli ambassador’s visit to KCL sparks protests
A talk at KCL with Mark Regev, Israeli ambassador to the UK, was met with protests on Tuesday. The KCL Action Palestine Society were joined by several other societies to show solidarity with the Palestinian people.
In an official statement, the Palestinian Society collectively condemned KCL for supporting the Israeli ambassador’s invitation to speak on campus, seeing it as a “concerted political campaign to normalise Israel’s presence on university campuses.”
The Arab-Israeli conflict is a deeply controversial issue, which has ignited outbursts from both the sides on university campuses.
Visits from Israeli political figures to London campuses often attract protest. Earlier this year the Palestine society organised a protest against Former Deputy Prime Minister of Israel Dan Meridor’s visit to the Strand Campus.
KCL has proclaimed itself to be “the best connected University with Israel.” It was the first university in the UK to adopt the definition of anti-Semitism proposed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
The protest started right outside of the King’s building, where around thirty students gathered to unite against Palestinian oppression.
A protester told LS, “We are all against the violence happening in Palestine. It is ethnic cleansing. We won’t let UK turn a blind eye to this.” Another drew an analogy to “apartheid,” calling Israel out for its discriminatory treatment of Palestinians.
The protesters then marched across the Waterloo bridge. The co-president of the society addressed the participants, “I want Waterloo campus to hear you. I want the people killed in Gaza to hear you.” They then proceeded to gather outside of the Waterloo building where Mark Regev was speaking, blocking the entrance with banners.
Besides chanting slogans and waving these banners, the protesters also performed a traditional Arab folk dance, dabke. A member of the society told LS, “There is great power in solidarity. Nothing will happen if we sit and accept brutality.”