Media Watchdog Slams ‘Unserious Response’ by London University to Violent Anti-Israel Protest on Campus
JNS.org – University College London (UCL) is being slammed by a leading media watchdog for its “unserious response” to a violent anti-Israel protest that took place on its campus last week.
“UCL seems more concerned with public relations than with protecting Jewish students’ rights of free speech,” Andrea Levin, executive director of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), said in a statement. “It’s shameful.”
The attendees of an October 27 event, featuring Israeli activist and former IDF commander Hen Mazzig — at UCL as part of a speaking tour co-organized by CAMERA on Campus — were forced to remain in the lecture room as they waited for police to escort them safely through a crowd of some 100 demonstrators.
As The Algemeiner reported, video footage of the incident shows anti-Israel demonstrators blocking the doors to the event space — with Jewish students and visitors locked inside — and chanting anti-Jewish slogans, before shouting “Shame! Shame! Shame!” when police lead the attendees out of the building. Other footage captured shows protesters climbing through windows into the lecture room.
Police are currently investigating reports made by two female Jewish students who said they had been assaulted.
In response to the incident, UCL said in a statement, “We regret protesters took measures to try to prevent the event from happening but stress that the protest was non-violent.”
“The freedom to debate and challenge views is fundamental to the nature of a university. We also acknowledge the right to peaceful protest,” UCL said.
The school also characterized the protesters as a “small but noisy group.”
Levin said that UCL’s statement was inadequate.
“Despite video footage that showed physical coercion,” the school denied violence took place, Levin said. She added that the demonstration “wasn’t small” and “scores can be seen on video.”
“UCL needs to respond meaningfully, not just try to quell bad publicity. Mob behavior mustn’t be tolerated on any campus,” Levin said.
Levin added that CAMERA is calling on UCL to expel any students who broke into the event and shut down campus groups responsible for the protest.
Watch video footage of the event below: