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Written by Student Rights on 26 April 2010 at 7pm

Spot the difference: Hate-speech vs free-speech argument arises on Manchester University campus

Talya Lador-FresherThis week sees tensions refreshed as Deputy Ambassador for Israel Talya Lador-Fresher encounters new protests against her attendance and consequent speaking engagement at the University of Manchester. No stranger to controversy, Ms. Lador-Fresher was forced into cancelling the last engagement in February amidst threats and resulting security concerns. 

Hypocrisy rears it's ugly head once again as Dr. Azzam Tamimi, a figure who's most cited quotations include those pertaining to the endorsement of suicide bombings on the BBC Hard Talk programme in 2004 has been hosted by the University, despite the concerns of academics, students and pressure groups.

Director of Student Rights Raheem Kassam has commented that "To see a protest seems rich considering the recent Tamimi appearance on campus in Manchester.  Some might say the argument goes both ways but juxtaposing Tamimi who has endorsed suicide bombings with Lador-Fresher isn't appropriate.  'Knee-jerk activism' and tit-for-tat retaliatory events do nothing to build bridges on campuses.  If we're serious about fostering debate and creating a campus culture of peace - both groups must learn that it's crucial to work together."

While the Deputy Ambassador for Israel has called for an end to indiscriminate violence against civilians, Tamimi has endorsed suicide-bombing tactics as self-defence and upon being asked as to whether or not he would become a martyr has stated, "If I can go to Palestine and sacrifice myself I would do it. Why not?" This nihilistic, destructive and irrational kind of incitement crosses the line of campus debate. Lador-Fresher has been criticised for her government's actions during the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict and threats of violence caused a cancellation of a previous speaking engagement at Manchester University.  However, Ms. Lador-Fresher has also been praised for professing her hope for a peaceful two-state solution, argued at the 'Yes to Peace' rally in Manchester last year. 'Yes to Peace' Rally, Manchester

Student Rights have argued consistently for hate-speech to be exposed on UK campuses in order to further constructive discussion and ensure graduates and future leaders are not marginalised by highly emotional world issues.