Society at University of Bristol condemn upcoming speech by anti-Palestine lobbyist
Friends of Palestine Society at the University of Bristol in Britain issued a statement to condemn a decision by the Free Speech Society to host Charlotte Korchak, a representative of the anti-Palestinian lobby group StandWithUs.
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“We strongly condemn the Free Speech Society for inviting Charlotte Korchak and the University for approving the event, showing absolute disregard towards the dignity, equality, and well-being of their Palestinian students,” Friends of Palestine stated.
“The decision to platform speakers from an ostensibly racist organization undercuts the function of campus as a safe space for Palestinian students and the university’s moral and legal obligations to equality and shared values. This decision sets a dangerous precedent, displaying that students from marginalized groups do not have guaranteed safety on campus,” Friends of Palestine underlined.
“The Free Speech Society has invited someone who denounces the Palestinians’ right to exist and engages in rhetoric that whitewashes and justifies Israel's apartheid regime,” its statement read.
“This is somebody who is a self-professed Zionist. Zionism has meant profound trauma for generations, systematically separating Palestinians from their homes, land and each other. This is somebody who actively contributes to the erasure of [the] Palestinian culture, to the denial of our inalienable right to exist, and ultimately, to the dispossession of our people. This is a dangerous and hateful voice against Palestinians that should not be permitted to speak on our campus,” the statement added.
The society also said that it was contacted by an official from the Free Speech Society with an offer to debate with Charlotte Korchak in order to make its voices and perspectives heard by her.
The society responded to that offer by stressing that it would be “unacceptable to debate apartheid and ethnic cleansing in Palestine.”
“It is not simply that Charlotte Korchak’s supremacist positions are wrong, but that they are fundamentally illegitimate,” the society said.
“Unfortunately, the recent history of similarly anti-Palestinian speakers … shows how the current external speaker policy is incompetent in addressing and protecting its Palestinian students. Palestinian students should not have to go through continuous trauma, forced to see displays of constant erasure, on their campus. We therefore call for a serious reform of our external speaker policy,” the society emphasized.
“The Palestinian struggle is not an abstract issue to be debated. It is a real, ongoing struggle that has cost thousands of lives. The Palestinian cause is the cause of all oppressed peoples. We sincerely condemn all those who actively participate, directly or indirectly, in our erasure,” the society concluded its statement.