Censorship and anti-Semitism in academe

Hypocrites in glass houses?


The UCU the union for university lecturers has toyed with anti-semitic motions for several years, namely a total boycott of Israeli universities and other institutions. They were only prevented from passing this because their legal advisers said this would be against the law.

Five soldiers, aged 19, from the Israeli Defence Force had been due to perform a medley of national songs at the Bloomsbury Theatre as part of a sell-out family show to celebrate their country's 61st anniversary. But the show has been shelved after the venue, owned by University College London, claimed the content was "political". See here.

The organisers, the Zionist Federation, denied the claim, saying the songs do not have any military content and accused UCL of censorship. A spokesman said:

"The Bloomsbury Theatre has decided they should impose censorship on what people should be allowed
to see. We agreed to remove the soldiers' act from the bill but even then the theatre was against the whole thing."

He added it was hypocritical as other London theatres staged pro-Palestinian productions.

UCL students have, in the past, banned military organisations from UCL Union premises. Yet they appear not to have noticed that UCL invests in arms companies. In 2006 Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) revealed that UCL was the largest known university investor in arms companies in the UK. UCL currently invests £1,591,627 in the companies Cobham plc and the Smiths Group (both of which manufacture components for military aircraft and other weapons systems). This sum amounts to 1.7% of UCL's total investment assets.

Another education establishment,Tower Hamlets college, positively encouraged protests against Israel in January see here.

Lecturers at Tower Hamlets college, organised a protest to make a splash in east London and big up Saturday's national demonstration. Up to 400 workers and students turned out to protest at the break time in between exams. Speakers from the Stop the War Coalition, the Islamic Forum of Europe and the UCU lecturers union spoke to the protesters.

So, that's all right then.