42 views 6 mins 0 comments

As a Cambridge student, I appeal to my university to act against anti-Israel protests

In World
May 11, 2024

I am a third-year undergraduate student at Cambridge, and have been following the activities of a small number of my fellow students currently occupying the lawn outside King’s College and the official response of the university. I am writing to say that I am appalled by the response that the university has offered.

Freedom of speech is critical to the wellbeing of any university. There must be space for us to express our views, disagree, and engage in dialogue to enrich our own understanding of the world. Yet what this does not mean is that this university may remain impartial and silent about the right of existence of a sovereign state, and the right of its inhabitants to have exactly the same rights as other sovereign peoples around the world: their own self-determination.

The protesters in front of King’s College are openly calling for the destruction of the state of Israel. Their placards that are currently emblazoned around their encampment and calling for a “Free Palestine from the river to the sea”. The protesters know exactly what this means. It means that in their view a Jewish state should not exist. It means that the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea should not be home to the 7.2 million Jews who live there (as well as the two million Israeli Arabs, and the half-a-million Christians and others – groups that consistently respond at a rate of about 70 per cent to independent polls saying they support the Israeli state).

A Palestine “from the river to the sea” means no Israel, no Israelis, and no security for Jews in the Middle East. Where do the protesters propose the Jews and Israelis go if a Palestinian state were to exist from the river to the sea?

Freedom of speech must be protected

Again, I would like to reiterate that freedom of speech must be protected. Regardless of my own opinions on the matter, to call for a ceasefire, or to advocate for the quick removal of Benjamin Netanyahu, or to express the absolutely critical empathy that is deserved by all the inhabitants of Gaza should be encouraged. Yet the university’s statement fails to address the genocidal aims of Hamas. The latter’s 1988 Charter says: “The day of judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews… when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees.” This could be an exact description of what happened on Oct 7 2023. When Israeli men and women had to hide in cars, under dead bodies, in bushes, and wherever else they could find so as to not be brutally murdered by militant Islamists.

This is what “Palestine from the river to the sea” means. Because, according to this logic, any means are justified if you are fighting a “colonial” regime, and Hamas are simply “freedom fighters” for the Palestinian cause.

Perhaps you think I’m exaggerating? In an Oct 10 statement, publicly available on Instagram, the Cambridge University Palestine Society said the “Israeli regime is entirely responsible” for the “violence” seen on Oct 7. These are the words of actual students from the University of Cambridge. The university’s silence on the slogan “from the river to the sea” used in the occupation of King’s College lawn suggests that those hellbent on the destruction of Jews in the Middle East have a free pass to do so.

Fair and justified criticism of Israeli foreign and internal policy should never be followed by the words “Free Palestine from the river to the sea”, and if we do hear this in Cambridge, it should be denounced while upholding the right to freedom of speech. The rhetoric in general – that Israel and Zionism are Western constructs built exclusively on colonialism – is at best a complete ignorance of Jewish history and at worst thinly-veiled anti-Semitism that the university’s weak response fails to address.

This open appeal is an attempt to say that not everyone at the university will stay silent and feel forced to go along with the genocidal aims of Hamas, or the radicals occupying the lawn outside King’s. There are those of us at Cambridge who stand with Israel. For any Jewish friends, and supporters of Israel reading, I want to share my belief that the light of the Jewish people will continue to glow even in the darkest of times. It is understandable to feel discouraged in the face of such hatred and threat. But the many thousands of years’ history of Israel will not be extinguished by the radicals in our universities or by anti-Semites around the world.

Devika Shah is an undergraduate at Selwyn College, Cambridge

EMEA Tribune is not involved in this news article, it is taken from our partners and or from the News Agencies. Copyright and Credit go to the News Agencies, email news@emeatribune.com Follow our WhatsApp verified Channel210520-twitter-verified-cs-70cdee.jpg (1500×750)

Support Independent Journalism with a donation (Paypal, BTC, USDT, ETH)
whatsapp channel
Avatar
/ Published posts: 33913

The latest news from the News Agencies