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February 25, 2016 4:00 pm

Jewish Human Rights Group Hints at Legal Action Against Cambridge U Over Mock Checkpoint Erected for Israeli Apartheid Week

avatar by Andrew Pessin

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Israeli Apartheid Week at Cambridge University. Photo: Facebook

Israeli Apartheid Week at Cambridge University. Photo: Facebook.

Lawyers for a Jewish advocacy group sent a letter to Britain’s Cambridge University, hinting that legal action would be taken over the erection of a mock “checkpoint” on campus during Israeli Apartheid Week.

The letter, sent Wednesday on behalf of Jewish Human Rights Watch, described the structure as “comprising a metal barrier with barbed wire which blocked the entrance to one of [Cambridge’s] educational facilities.” This “deliberately intimidating paramilitary-style antisemitic ‘checkpoint,’” it read, “was manned by individuals in camouflage waving replica weapons,” and was adorned with an Israeli flag.

The letter continued:

It is clear to our client that no-one whatsoever has given any thought to how a Jewish person in the current climate might feel about being forced to walk through such an intimidating road block on the campus. It is bad enough that anti-Jewish incidents have over the last 2 years risen to record levels. What makes this so much worse is that a respected institution such as yours should endorse such virulent antisemitic elements …

The construction of the checkpoint kicked off Israeli Apartheid Week, a series of events held on many campuses across the UK and US, aimed, according to Cambridge University’s Israeli Apartheid Week Facebook page, “to raise awareness about Israel’s ongoing settler-colonial project and apartheid policies over the indigenous Palestinian people.” At Cambridge it is organized by the Cambridge University Palestine Society, which last week was in the news for refusing to participate in a “Middle East Peace Week,” co-sponsored by the Cambridge Israel Society, as reported by The Algemeiner.

The Algemeiner reached out to Cambridge Vice-Chancellor Prof. Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, to ask whether the university believed (a) that the mock checkpoint was in keeping with all university norms and codes of conduct, and (b) that Jewish students would be unreasonable in feeling intimidated by such a structure.

The Vice-Chancellor’s office responded: “Permission was given to the Palestine Society to hold a one-day protest event on the Sidgwick Site which was carried out peacefully. Access to buildings was not restricted and anyone wishing to avoid the protest was able to go around it.”

Jewish Human Rights Watch was recently established, according to its website, to “combat and record the anti-Jewish boycott movement’s action, the rise of anti-Semitism and to respond accordingly.”

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  • an antisemitic – Arab apartheid week would be the perfect response starting with a wall covered with large font quotes from HAMAS, Hezbollah and anti Israel-anti-Jewish western supporters of BDS. And then some stats highlighting Israeli ‘agression’ verses ‘Arab’ aggression. The only true way to win is to fight back with intellectual vigor – that means metaphorically taking no prisoners in the debate – both visual and verbal.

  • sidney sands

    Andrew had the right idea, if Jewish students put up a mock German Concentration Camp with guards, how do you think the Universities would respond, would it tell students to walk round it, lets face it the Palestinian and the loony left are to blame for the present situation, and the “Kids” at the Universities swallow the hate of these two organisations.

  • Weasel words from VC’s office!

  • Andrew

    I wonder if the Jewish group set up a mock beheading or a mock throwing gays off of roofs, would that be allowed.

  • Michael Levy

    Tell this lawyer that it would be a good idea to invite Abas here so we can arrest him too!

  • Isaac Brajtman

    most of these silly little students weren’t even born during S.Africa’s apartheid era and have no idea what they are comparing to Israel. Most I’m sure have also never been to Israel. so don’t really know what they are getting all excited about or talking about. Maybe they just need a cold shower ,and then get on with their studies ( if that is why they went to university in the first place)

    • Peter

      Do you think it would be different if Bishop Tutu was at the mock israeli road block. He suffered under apartheid and has bee to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. He said that conditions of oppression the were worse than in South Africa.

  • zadimel

    Nothing abides anti-Semitism more than the phony rationale of a blistering falsehood against the Jewish people and their only independent state.

  • Steve Loeb

    Thankfully we’re finally seeing the affirmative action that we’ve needed to see for a long long time. Sue these people into bankruptcy … they are violating all sorts of existing discrimination law. Muslims should NOT be infantilized and excused from any responsibility for their actions. When they incite and it leads to deaths – the need to be sued. When they make “charitable contributions” that end up in the coffers of terror groups, they need to be sued. When they disrupt meetings and then people physically they need to be sued – and those who enable them like various municipalities and college administrations – they too need to be sued.

  • stevenl

    Not “would” but “must be taken”.
    The British Gvt must sanction racism = antisemitism wherever it appears. It is a cancer. It requires targeted therapy.
    It is specially pernicious in a certain elite; the same in every western countries of today.

    • Peter

      Why is any criticism of Israel equal to anti Semitism? Israel has people of many religions, races and backgrounds.

  • brenrod

    the question is if cambridge was bombed to cinders would I shed tears?

    • Denis MacEoin

      As a Cambridge graduate (PhD 1979), I find that offensive. Cambriudge has been and may still be listed as the top university in the world, and down the centuries its contribution to to human knowledge was as still is incalculable. The university did not mount this disturbing charade, the PSC did so. If the PSC were destroyed (legally, not physically), then I would applaud your sentiments. But a Philistine comment is no way to address a problem within academe. Using the knowledge I gazined studying at Cambridge, I write almst daily about anti-Israel activity because I have command of the facts. Can you say the same?

  • Max Genghis Cohen

    Did Jewish students mimic Palestinians carrying knives as they crossed the check point? Just asking in the cause of all that realism on display.