November 8, 2011
Manchester University is facing growing protests after caving in to Zionist pressure and forcing students organising a speaking tour by Professor Norman Finkelstein to move his planned lecture off campus.
In a letter to university Head of Governance, Martin Conway, J-BIG said it was astonished “that a respected university should collude with Zionist attempts to suppress open discussion of Prof Finkelstein’s views on campus.”
Students from Manchester Action Palestine said the university management and Union “capitulated to pressure from JSOC [Jewish Society] to limit attendees of the event to students only, depriving the public of seeing one of the world’s foremost commentators on the Israel-Palestine conflict.”
JSOC members alleged that the safety of Jewish students would be endangered if the public were allowed in, even though they had made clear their own intention to attend and hold a picket. Administrators issued an ultimatum saying that the lecture would have to be closed to non-students or be cancelled. Action Palestine was therefore obliged to find a new location in the city.
Abe Hayeem, Chair of Architects & Planners for Justice in Palestine, told Conway he was “appalled to hear that Manchester University had created impossible conditions that would prevent Professor Norman Finkelstein from speaking at a meeting that was open to both students and the public.”
“Your action smacks entirely of bias, pre-emption and censorship that does not enhance the reputation of such an important University, by caving into pressure of a determined minority who wish to deny anyone presenting the realities of Israel and the situation in the Middle East,” Hayeem wrote.
Manchester Action Palestine is asking supporters to send protest letters to Conway (firstname.lastname@example.org) and to Pat Sponder (email@example.com) Head of the Office of Student Support and Services.
Finkelstein’s lecture in Manchester on November 8 is one of several planned around the UK as part of a speaking tour organised by students from University College London, supported by Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods and the Palestinian Return Centre.
It will include lectures on the Israel Palestine conflict and a discussion in London on Friday November 11 with Jonathan Rosenhead, chair of the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine, which leads the campaign for academic and cultural boycott of Israel.
The Manchester lecture will now take place at the Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount Street, M2 5NS at 6 pm on November 8.
Other tour dates:
Leeds – 7 pm Monday November 7
University of Leeds, Rupert Beckett Lecture Theatre, Michael Sadler Building
Woodhouse Lane, LS2 9JT. Arrive early or reserve your place in advance firstname.lastname@example.org
Nottingham – Wednesday November 9
University of Nottingham, Coates Auditorium, University Park
Nottingham – Thursday Nov 10, 1pm-3pm open Q&A Tickets for both events from Students Union box office in Portland or telephone 07411 430873
Birmingham – 5 pm Thursday November 10
University of Birmingham, Vaughan Jeffreys Lecture Theatre, Education Building
London – 2 pm Friday November 11 – BDS discussion
Bloomsbury venue to be announced
London – 7 pm Friday November 11
University of London, Logan Hall, Institute of Education
Reserve your place at http://www.eventsbot.com/events/eb253345787