Written by Student Rights on 15 March 2012 at 7pm

Student societies reject Ken O'Keefe's twisted views

Following the news that Ken O’Keefe’s talk at the University of Kent (UKC) this Friday had been cancelled by the Palestine Solidarity Group, it has come to the attention of Student Rights that a number of Palestine Societies around the UK have declared that he is “tainting campus Palestine activism” and should not be welcome as a speaker at university events.

Six Palestine Societies have released a joint statement which began by declaring:

Last week, whilst speaking at Middlesex University, Ken O’Keefe launched into what we feel was an undeniably anti-Semitic rant. Unfortunately, Middlesex University Free Palestine Society have as yet failed to come out and condemn his remarks, forcing us to publicly condemn O’Keefe’s comments.

Many people, including us, admired Ken O’Keefe’s anti-war, anti-imperialist stance on the war and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and his bravery in the face of Israel’s murderous attack on the Mavi Marmara aid ship to Gaza. However, none of this can excuse the unacceptable nature of his comments last week”.


This move is welcomed by Student Rights as sign that many student societies are beginning to realise that allowing extremists to monopolise the debate is detrimental to their campaign and dangerous for campus cohesion. That they are willing to stand up in this way despite the fact that other groups like Middlesex Free Palestine Society have called O’Keefe a “legend” and O’Keefe himself has called them “the thought police and false allies of Palestine” should be commended.

O’Keefe’s response comes from a longer blog post published on March 13th which declared that this move was “not surprising, especially as it becomes more obvious that the so-called ‘Palestinian Solidarity’ movement is rife with infiltrators and subversives posing as friends and allies of Palestine”.

He also confirmed the positions he took at the Middlesex debate, saying that “I seek the destruction of every government and institution that is actively participating in the destruction of our world...I include the US, British and Israeli governments in this category, along with the United Nations.  All of these entities are vile and disgusting and are taking us straight to hell on Earth via World War III”.

This was followed by an accusation that the Palestine Societies that had stood up to his hate-mongering where “attempting to provide cover for the tyrants by prohibiting meaningful deliberation into matters that are of the most critical importance to our world” including “the Jewish supremacism that is of dire consequence to our world”.

As well as this, O’Keefe yesterday published part of an email sent by Student Rights to the UKC Palestine Solidarity Group on the website, which includes work from Gilad Atzmon, himself declaredpersona non grata by a number of lecturers and activists in recent days. This post is followed by numerous comments espousing 9/11 conspiracy theories and demonstrates the true nature of the company O’Keefe keeps.

We hope these incidents will serve as a turning point in allowing students to reclaim the debate on Israel and Palestine from extremists within their movement, and go some way to healing the wounds to campus cohesion that these individuals have caused.