Reservists on Duty give a presentation.
(photo credit: RESERVISTS ON DUTY)
King’s College London decided to postpone a scheduled pro-Israel event with Arab-Israeli speakers at the last minute due to “high risk factors” – this in the midst of anti-Israel Apartheid Week events taking place on the campus.
Jonathan Elkhoury, one of the scheduled speakers, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that the postponement of a pro-Israel event with minority speakers during Apartheid Week, “one of the campus’s flagship events that it continually promotes,” was “outrageous – and another attempt to silence and hide the truth about Israel from the dialogue.”
“While the majority of anti-Israel activists have never been to Israel or met a person from Israel, they are given the freedom to spread lies,” he said. “A panel of Israeli speakers, from the Christian, Beduin, Muslim and Druse communities, coming to dispel their claims, is silenced and canceled.”
CAMERA (The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) on Campus had invited Arab-Israeli and minority speakers of the anti-BDS group Reservists on Duty to speak at a pro-Israel event titled “Is Israel an Apartheid State?” However, shortly before the scheduled event, the college emailed the organizers and said that the event would have to be postponed.
“Due to a variety of new factors, the risk level of this event tomorrow has been raised to a high-risk event; therefore, in line with the recent college decision about high-risk events, this event will have to be postponed,” the college wrote in an email to one of the organizers.
Following the cancellation, the organizers asked why the college had decided to cancel the event.
“The event was originally titled ‘Stories from Israeli Minorities’ and is now advertised as “Is Israel an Apartheid State?’” the college wrote in response.
Additionally, it said one of the speakers was not listed on the original booking request and that the college’s risk assessment department had asked for the event to only be open to the college’s students, which was not complied with.
IN THE WEEKS prior to the event, the college had sent an email to the organizers and said that two of its speakers had been “referred” as they had “attracted controversy in the past.”
Less than a week prior to the event, the college sent a letter to the organizers saying that they had undertaken a “risk assessment for the speaker and event,” and asked for a number of mitigations to reduce the risk.
The requests included ensuring that the event be chaired and “kept on topic;” that the college’s safe space policy be applied during the event; that a safe space marshal be in attendance at the event; and that the event be filmed or recorded by an independent body or the college’s lecture-capture system.
“KCL is continuing their bias and hypocrisy, and chooses to silence pro-Israel voices... especially [those] of minorities from Israel,” Amit Deri, CEO of Reservists on Duty, told the Post
“We didn’t give up and in the end we held the event at an alternate location which CAMERA rented near the university,” Deri said. “Nobody will silence us.”
Deri added that in the coming weeks Reservists on Duty intends to send delegations to college campuses in the US and the UK where Apartheid Week events are taking place.
A King’s College London representative issued a statement to the Post which said: “The Israel Society event scheduled to take place last night on the King’s campus was postponed, not canceled. The Society will be offered the opportunity to host it on another occasion, if they wish.”
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