Written by Student Rights on 4 February 2011 at 11am

'Protestors' bring shame on Edinburgh University

protest1The Edinburgh Evening News reports that security officers had to be brought in on the 2nd February after 50 protesters claimed to have shut down a lecture by the Israeli foreign minister's special advisor. 

Ishmael Khaldi, the most senior Muslim in the Israeli Foreign Ministry, was being hosted by the university's Jewish society in Appleton Tower in at 17:30. Within minutes of the talk however, 'protestors' claiming to be 'pro-Palestinian' surrounded Mr. Khaldi and chanted, "Israel is a racist state," in an act that totally undermines the widely defended 'freedom of speech' for people like Mr. Khaldi.

In stark contrast, we might consider the recent event held at the London School of Economics, where Abdel Bari Atwan was hosted by the Palestine Society.  Atwan is on the record as claiming he would 'dance with delight' if war broke out between Iran and Israel.  However, his event was not subject to the disruption that took place at Edinburgh. 

It flies in the face of those who defend controversial speakers on campuses, if they attempt to silence people they regard as 'the opposition'. The 'Students for Justice in Palestine' have boasted of the protest on their website and in the subsequent press release regarding the event. 

Unfortunately, what they fail to see is that this is not only a massive loss for themselves, as they may have better proved their points by quizzing Khaldi on their issues - and for freedom of speech on campuses.