UJS is deeply disappointed that UCL Union (UCLU) and UCL have allowed an event hosting Miko Peled and Dr Azzam Tamimi to take place. Despite concerns being raised by UJS, the Jewish Society and the Friends of Israel Society, the Union has insisted that these speakers do not breach their guidelines for external speakers.
The UCLU speaker guidelines clearly state:
‘As the organisation that facilitates your events we are bound by law and must always act within the law to ensure we provide a safe environment for our members. This includes […] Reaffirming that it is a criminal offence to incite or encourage others to commit a crime, including acts of terrorism.’
Tamimi and Peled have both used alarming and offensive language in previous speaking engagements that have been explicitly antisemitic. Tamimi has also expressed support for acts of violence and terrorism.
Dr. Azzam Tamimi has a long history of voicing support for terrorism and specifically Hamas, a proscribed terrorist organisation. At SOAS in 2010 he stated: ‘You shouldn’t be afraid of being labelled extreme, radical or terrorist. If fighting for your home land is terrorism, I take pride in being a terrorist. The Koran tells me if I die for my homeland, I’m a martyr and I long to be a martyr.’ Additionally, in a BBC interview in 2004, Tamimi argued that carrying out a suicide bombing for Palestine ‘is a noble cause. It is the straight way to pleasing my God and I would do it if I had the opportunity.’
Miko Peled has also made comments that have widely been considered antisemitic. At this year’s Labour Party Conference, Peled indicated that the Holocaust could be up for debate, saying: ‘the Holocaust: yes or no’ and equated Zionists with Nazis.
We consider that the violent and antisemitic nature of these comments clearly fall foul of UCLU’s speaker guidelines. This event should therefore not be permitted.
By failing to uphold their own guidelines and providing a platform for these openly hostile speakers, UCL Union is neglecting the welfare and wellbeing of its Jewish students.
We are working with UCL Jewish Society, UCL Friends of Israel Society and UCLU to ensure the safety of Jewish students at UCL.
Concerned students are advised to get in contact with UCL J-Soc and UJS. Please support the petition established by UCL’s Jewish students, which can be found here.