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November 1, 2017 1:30 pm

University College London to Host Hamas Supporter, Activist Who Said Jews Known as ‘Sleazy Thieves’

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The Wilkins Building at the University College London. Photo: Steve Cadman.

The University College London (UCL) will be hosting an event next week featuring a speaker with ties to the Islamist terrorist group Hamas and another with a history of making antisemitic remarks.

Miko Peled — an Israeli-American activist who was disinvited from speaking at Princeton University in 2016 after publishing a series of controversial tweets, including one saying “Jews have reputation 4being sleazy thieves” — will appear at UCL on Friday, November 10, at an event organized in part by the school’s Friends of Palestine Society.

Peled will be joined by Azzam Tamimi, a British-Palestinian academic who previously admitted to being associated with Hamas.

“I have a great honor to be close to Hamas,” Tamimi said at Queen Mary’s University in 2012, Haaretz reported. He claimed that “all the leaders of Hamas are my friends,” and added, “I am not ashamed of my association with Hamas. Hamas, in my view, is the true representative of the Palestinian people.”

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Tamimi also said “that it was only unfortunate that he himself did not have a leadership role within the group,” according to the paper.

Hamas’ Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades were proscribed by the British government in 2001.

The UCL event — which, according to its description on social media, seeks to answer questions such as, “Does Zionist equal Settler?” and “Can Genocide in Palestine be attributed to the actions of the Israeli government?” — was brought to attention by the UK-based Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) on Tuesday.

“Miko Peled’s views engage the International Definition of Antisemitism and his invective is threatening to the safety of Jewish students,” CAA warned.

The group noted that a talk organized by UCL Friends of Israel Society last year was met with hostile protests, resulting in the reported assault of three female students, and that a subsequent inquiry by UCL into the incident found that the university failed “to adequately protect freedom of expression on campus.”

Considering this history, “UCL should cancel this event and ensure that theirs is a campus that does not give antisemitism the space to thrive,” CAA urged.

In response, Charles Hymas — a spokesperson for UCL — told The Algemeiner that the university “supports freedom of speech provided it stays within the law.”

“Our main concern is to ensure that events like this pass off smoothly and peacefully for students and staff,” Hymas added. “Our procedures and protocols for such events have been instituted in order to achieve this.”

A report published by the Henry Jackson Society think tank in September found that several major British universities hosted Islamist speakers with a history of endorsing terrorist groups, demonizing Jews, and defaming Israel during the 2016-17 academic year.

Of the 112 events listed by the report, the most — 14 — took place at SOAS University of London, followed by six each at Kingston University and UCL.

Binyomin Gilbert, program manager for CAA, told The Algemeiner at the time that “many universities seem to have an extremely poor understanding of antisemitism and extremism.”

He called on “Universities UK and individual universities and students’ unions to shoulder responsibility for the events that our students are exposed to.”

“The threat of radicalization threatens the whole of British society, not only Jews,” Gilbert added. “Extremists and antisemites must be denied a platform, and universities and students’ unions must strengthen their screening procedures and put an end to this deeply disturbing trend of permitting antisemitic and extremist speakers to influence students on British campuses, thereby putting Jewish students at risk.”

The article has been updated to include comments by Charles Hymas, a spokesperson for UCL.

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