Unchallenged at Loughborough University: suicide bombing defender
On November 17th Loughborough University will be hosting a speech by the prominent Palestinian activist Dr Azzam Tamimi in which he will speak on the topic of The Holy Land: Palestine Past, Present and Future. Born in 1955, now a British citizen who has been living in the UK since his university days, Dr Tamimi has regularly appeared in the over the past ten years discussing at length his supportiveness for suicide bombings. Tamimi does not object to being introduced publicly as a supporter of Hamas, as he demonstrated in an interview with Jon Snow on The Weekly Planet: Snow: But essentially, within the Palestinian framework, you would be sympathetic towards Hamas? Tamimi: You can say that, yes
[Source: The Weekly Planet, Channel 4, 16/10/96]
He has been involved in a number of controversies, including famously stating that he would “do it if he had the opportunity” when questioned over his support for suicide bombings by the BBC in 2004. As well as this, he has frequently denied the legitimacy of the Israeli state, saying that “for the Palestinians it is impossible to recognise that what happened to them in 1948 was legitimate” and that “Israel has no right to exist”. He has also argued that civilians killed by Hamas attacks are “victims of their own government”, furthering the idea that the indiscriminate violence is a form of legitimate struggle. Finally, in 2008 he told a prominent Israeli academic that he should “go back to Germany”. Recently, Tamimi has interviewed Raed Salah, the cleric who facing deportation from Britain. The two are seen laughing about swastikas and tormenting Jewish teachers.
Despite Dr Tamimi’s extreme opinions there will be no other speaker present at the event to provide some form of balance. As such, it seems likely that these extreme views will go unchallenged which creates a dangerous precedent. At Student Rights we call on Loughborough University to ensure that this platform is a balanced one and that Dr Tamimi cannot preach this message without at least some form of moderation.