Ishmael Khaldi, Israeli government adviser to extreme racist Avigdor Lieberman, was prevented from presenting his propaganda at Edinburgh University yesterday (2 Feb 2011). His speech had to be clandestinely scheduled at the last minute for fear of attracting protest, and justifiably. As soon as he began his speech, entitled "Is Israel a racist state", around 50 of the 70 or so present rose from their seats and made their way to the stage.
Students made it clear that with over 60 years of Israel boycotting the human and national rights of the Palestinians, Israeli apologists for
murder and ethnic cleansing did not deserve the right to free speech that they denied the Palestinians.
The students pointed out that Israel wants nothing more than continued "dialogue"; the kind of dialogue that expects everything of the indigenous Palestinians, and nothing from the racist colonising state - the Palestine Papers make this abundantly clear.
After more than an hour of hiding behind his bodyguards, Khaldi gave up, leaving the room to chants of "Cheerio, cheerio, cheerio."
Israel has had its chance to "dialogue" and it abused it.
When Palestine is free, perhaps Edinburgh University's Psychology Society can invite Khaldi to explain what was going through his mind when he practiced and promoted Apartheid.
Until then, no university society should tarnish its reputation by providing a platform to Khaldi or any other ambassadors of crime.
Well done to Edinburgh University Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) for organising a fantastic protest at very short notice.
Edinburgh University Students for Justice in Palestine
PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Edinburgh students shut down lecture by Israeli diplomat
Edinburgh University Students for Justice in Palestine successfully shut down a lecture last night by Ishmael Khaldi, advisor to Israel's foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman.
The event, hosted by the University's Jewish society and held in Lecture Theatre 1 of Appleton Tower, was re-arranged only the night before after the International Relations society refused to host Khaldi, due to the fact that Palestinian were living under "Apartheid"
The talk was scheduled to start at 5pm but was delayed until 5.30pm, with the organisers citing 'security concerns'. When it did eventually get under way, one SJP member interrupted immediately shouting "Where is the freedom of speech for the 1,500 massacred in Gaza? Where is the freedom of speech for the Palestinian students in Israeli dungeons?"
The protesters - approximately 50 people - were the majority of the audience and comprised students activists, members of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and members of the local Palestinian community. The demonstrators proceeded to occupy the platform of the lecture theatre and chanted slogans such "From Cairo to Ramallah, globalise the Intifada", "Boycott Israel" and "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free".
University security soon arrived but the peaceful demonstration continued unabated for a further 45 minutes until Khaldi finally got the message that he was not welcome and left the lecture theatre. The majority of the people present in the lecture theatre had made it clear that they were not interested in listening to Israeli propaganda.
Earlier in the day, Edinburgh University SJP hosted US Iraq war veteran Mike Prysner who spoke of the link between US Imperialism and the suffering of the Palestinians. He urged the students present to fight against imperialism and for justice in the Middle East.
President of Edinburgh University SJP, Liam O'Hare, said "We sent a clear message today that those who come to our University to represent an Apartheid state and to defend the dropping of white phosphorous on children are absolutely not welcome. Khaldi works for the openly racist Avigdor Lieberman, a man who has called for the execution of Arab members of the Knesset 1(Israeli Parliament). The recent leak of the 'Palestine Papers' has proven beyond any doubt that Israel does not seek peace and that it is purely a colonial settler state which seeks to indefinitely oppress the indigenous Palestinian population. We will continue to protest events where representatives of a racist state are present and fully support the global campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Apartheid Israel until it abides by international law"
President of the International Relations society, Ledys Sanjuan, said "The IR society had a long discussion about hosting Ishmael Khaldi. At the end we came to the conclusion that providing a platform for a representative of the Israeli state would be at the expense of the millions of Palestinians who live under Apartheid."
For more information visit http://sjp.eusa.ed.ac.uk