King’s College London‘s (KCL) Israel Society has said it is considering launching legal action against the University’s Student’s Union following their decision to promote ‘Apartheid week’. KCL’s Student’s Union promoted The week – which has been denounced as an ‘Anti-Israel week’ by some – in a newsletter that was circulated to thousands of students at the University. The Union has subsequently been accused of failing in their duty to support and represent all of the students – something the Union denies. Read on for more.
The Student’s Union were circulating a newsletter, when they opted to include information regarding campus-based events during ‘Apartheid Week’. In the newsletter, the Union also supported the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. In a statement to the Jewish Chronicle, the Union denied any wrongdoing, suggesting a ‘wide range of events’ were selected to be promoted. They also confirmed they have many measures in place to aid against any kind of discrimination on campus.
However, the Israel Society at KCL were furious at the decision. They suggested the move to promote a controversial event was ‘unprecedented’. Tamara Berens – the President of the Israeli Society at KCL – suggested the Student’s Union had ‘absolutely no right’ to advertise and endorse the event. They suggested that promoting the ‘Apartheid Week’ was ‘unlawful’. They also requested an apology. Other news reports have condemned the actions of the Student’s Union. Though as shown above – they deny wrongdoing.
This is the latest furore to effect the University based around these kind of tensions. A few weeks ago, former Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor had a visit to KCL disrupted by protesters. Some had suggested that Meridor shouldn’t have been invited onto campus to begin with. There have been similar events all over the United Kingdom, all of which seem to rarely pass without incident. Apartheid Week is ongoing this week – having commenced on Monday. A range of events are taking place.
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It is unfair to suggest that one side in this argument is correct and the other isn’t. It is important to look at the role of a Student’s Union however – it is a body that should support every student – regardless of what they support or believe. It could be argued in this instance, it hasn’t fulfilled its duty. It is arguably in any case that such a politically-charged set of events shouldn’t have been actively promoted. However freedom of speech is also an important consideration.