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Anti-Israel speakers banned by university

The Jewish Telegraph,
London, Saturday, March 30, 2002

LIVERPOOL University now bans any speaker or literature that attempts to define Zionism in a misconstrued way.

And it makes clear that the policies of the Israeli government are not the same as Zionism.

This is the result of a unanimous vote at Liverpool University on Thursday.

Any misinterpretation of Zionism is now regarded as antisemitic.

It is now against Students' Guild policy and deemed antisemitic to wrongly define the term.

Twenty-one members of the guild council voted in favour of the definition of Zionism and none voted against.

The motion, entitled Zionism, said: "Zionism is simply a religious and political concept that stresses the desire of Jews to return to the homeland of Israel.

"Zionism is distinct from policies of the Israeli government. Anti-Zionism is therefore the denial of the Jewish people's right to have a relationship with their homeland.'

Two former Liverpool J-Soc [Jewish Society] chairmen, Daniel King-Scott (22) and Russell Collins (21), proposed the motion.

London born Daniel is studying law and politics and Liverpudlian Russell is a psychology student.

A delighted Daniel King-Scott told me: "We made a decision to keep the motion low key to ensure its safe passage.

"Now that it has been passed, students have to make sure it is adhered to.

"Jewish students still have to argue their ground. This motion has to be pushed through at other universities.'

He continued: "It is now OK to be Zionist at Liverpool University, but it is no good if it just stops here. Other campuses must take it on.

"Everybody has the responsibility to ensure the legitimacy of Zionism as a concept of self-determination.'

Daniel said the message must be extended beyond the student community. The guild also resolved:

  • To encourage all minority societies within the guild to embark on a process of dialogue with each other.
  • To condemn the motion proposed in Manchester, and the antisemitism that followed.
  • To ban all literature which equates Zionism with Israeli governmental policies and actions.

UJS chairman Alan Senitt said: "Anti-Zionism has no place on any university campus.

"While most student unions do have a no-platform for racism policy, there are those who fail to understand that anti-Zionism is a racist expression, and therefore fail to protect Jewish students on their campus effectively.

"By passing this motion, Liverpool University Student Union are sending out a clear message that anti-Zionism has no place on their campus.

"I hope many other student unions follow their example.'

In a letter to Alan Senitt, Daniel King-Scott said: "This has a major impact on other societies in the guild, especially Friends of Palestine, Islamic Society, Socialist Workers, CND and Amnesty, who regularly bring in speakers who espouse anti-Zionist views.'

Daniel told me that immediately after the motion was passed, a meeting was held where a speaker was saying exactly what the motion banned.

In future, this type of meeting will not be allowed.

But the proposer of the motion warns: "For this motion to be effective requires the commitment of students to be aware of what is going on in the union and to take steps to ensure its adherence.'