London University’s Investigation Into Disruption of Israel Event Concludes Some Protesters Were Violent, Chanted Slogans That ‘Could Be Considered Antisemitic’
The investigation into the disruption of an Israel-related event at a UK university revealed that some protesters had been violent, contradicting the school’s statement in the immediate aftermath of the incident.
University College London’s probe of the demonstrations against a lecture in October by prominent Israel activist Hen Mazzig — which, as The Algemeiner reported, ended in police having to escort attendees through a swarm of students who had descended upon the event area — concluded that protesters had “intentionally disrupted” the program in a way that violated others’ rights. It also said that there were cases of physical assault, including “pushing and shoving.”
“This was a serious incident that represented a failure of the UCL Code of Practice on Freedom of Speech,” investigators wrote in the report summary.
Demonstrators “created a hostile, aggressive and intimidatory atmosphere; and conducted their protest noisily and aggressively such that many students, staff and other attendees felt intimidated by their behaviour,” the report concluded.
The report’s recommendations included reevaluations of both security procedures and acceptable forms of protest at “high risk events,” as well as advising that five UCL students — including a protester who “engaged in physically aggressive and insulting behaviour towards attendees” — be considered for disciplinary action.
Mazzig, who said he was disappointed UCL did not contact him for comment over the course of the investigation, was unimpressed by the report’s conclusions.
“I can tell that the statements are weak and not fully calling the attack for what it was: an attack on Jewish students,” he told The Algemeiner, noting that the word “Jew” does not appear once throughout the lengthy report. “This means that either they don’t see it as an antisemitic attack, or they are just avoiding naming it for what it really was.”
The report does note that some of the chants used by protesters — including, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” — “could be considered anti-Semitic.”
Leaders of the UK Jewish community, including the Union for Jewish Students, said that they “welcome the findings,” and a UCL spokesperson confirmed that the school is discussing the possibility of extending another invitation to Mazzig.
Mazzig, however, told The Algemeiner that he remains “worried” about a repeat performance.
As The Algemeiner reported, students who attended the event in question said they were “very shocked” by the protest, which some Jewish leaders referred to as a “pogrom.” British MPs expressed zero tolerance for on campus “intimidation or violence.”