Row erupts over claims of anti-Semitism

A row has erupted after a pro-Palestinian meeting, due to be held at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), was cancelled.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 23rd February 2017, 2:54 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th February 2017, 12:35 pm

The event, called “Debunking misconceptions on Palestine”, was due to be held next Tuesday, but UCLan bosses deemed it to be anti-Semitic.

Campaigners have called on the university to rethink the decision, but a spokesman for UCLan said procedures determined the meeting would “not be lawful”.

Mukhtar Master, chairman of Children of the Ghetto: “We will not let the university silence the voice of those who support Palestinian rights.

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“If the university continues with this draconian and undemocratic policy we will also call a demonstration, on campus, at some point in the near future.”

Anam Riaz, meeting organiser and chairman of UCLan Friends of Palestine Society, said: “We have every right to speak out on what is happening in Palestine and should be able to advocate for Palestinian rights without facing false accusations of anti-Semitism.”

Professor Michael Lavalette, of Liverpool Hope University, had been due to speak at the meeting and said: “The university is meant to be a place of open debate - this is a fundamental attack on freedom of speech and expression.”

A spokesman for the University said: “The UK Government has formally adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s new definition of what constitutes anti-Semitism.

“We believe the proposed talk ‘Debunking Misconceptions on Palestine’ contravenes the new definition and furthermore breaches University protocols for such events where we require assurances of a balanced view or a panel of speakers representing all interests.

“In this instance, our procedures determined that the proposed event would not be lawful, and therefore it will not proceed as planned.

“The University remains committed to supporting and representing all of its students.”