Essex Socialist Worker’s Student Society radically opposes the invitation to the Israel’s Deputy Ambassador called by the Government Department. We believe that such an invitation not only violates the policy of our Student’s Union and the tradition of our University, but more importantly represents an attack to the Palestinian cause. As revolutionary socialists, we prove unconditional support to the victims of the apartheid regime facilitated by a terrorist State that now takes place in Israel.
The atrocities of Zionism are countless, but they speak for themselves. So far, more than 15000 Palestinians have been murdered since 1948. The illegal occupation of Gaza and the West Bank violates at least 30 UN resolutions. Not only that, but Israel has also surrounded many Palestinian villages with an apartheid wall and has created military checkpoints to exacerbate an ethnic cleansing of the territory. Ultimately, Palestinians are treated as second-class citizens, with no rights to self-determination in their own country. In brief, the injustice in Palestine is so flagrant, that our solidarity is needed more than ever.
In an age of revolutions in the Arab world, solidarity to the Palestinian cause has been shown from Cairo to Kabul. We have been inspired by the Egyptian revolution, shouting for a free Palestine from Tahrir Square. As internationalists, we suffer the oppression of the Palestinian people as our own. Essex SWSS has a tradition of fighting for the Palestinian cause and more broadly for showing solidarity to any case of imperialist oppression across the world. Therefore we do not see the invitation to the Israel’s Deputy Ambassador as anything else than an invitation to fight for Palestine’s rights.
As a result, Essex SWSS calls upon students to assemble in Square 3, at 12:30pm on Wednesday, February 20th to protest against the decision made by the Department of Government to invite Mr. Alon Roth-Snir.
We, as students from the Palestine Solidarity Group, demand the University of Essex to cancel the invitation to the Israel’s Deputy Ambassador, who was invited by the Department of Government. We believe that such invitation does not only violate the values and ethics the University stands for, but it provides a platform to a state which breaches Human Rights and applies apartheid-like forms of racial discrimination against the Palestinians.
From the template of the South African Apartheid dismantling, we have taken the lesson to stand against racial discrimination and Human Rights violations everywhere around the world. According to Bishop and Nobel Prize winner Demond Tutu, Israel’s imposed apartheid on the Palestinians is far worse than it was under the South African Apartheid regime. It is worth remembering that during this period, in 1965, many British activists including important academics stood against the apartheid regime and in support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. Many responsible institutions and individuals took an ethical stance and stood in solidarity with the people suffering under this regime. Today we celebrate the fact that South Africa was liberated from the apartheid system thanks to many who stood in solidarity with them. In the same way, we should respect the human rights of Palestinians and the take an ethical stance against the acts of the Israeli state, namely, the violation of the 4th Geneva Convention, Universal Human Rights and War Crimes committed against the Palestinians.
Today Israel is still occupying the West Bank ethnically cleansing the population by surrounding the Palestinian villages with the illegal construction of the wall, illegal Jewish settlements and military checkpoints separating Israelis and Palestinians from each other. The fragmentation and the creation of Bantustans and enclaves in the Occupied Palestinian Territories makes it impossible for the Palestinians to fulfil their rights to self-determination and sovereignty. As such, Israel is violating the 4th Geneva Convention, the Supreme Court’s decision to condemn the extension of the Apartheid wall in the OPT and Human Rights violations committed against the Palestinians. In Gaza, the illegal blockade against the Palestinians imposed by Israel have been referred to, according to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as a grave “collective punishment” imposed on over 1.8 million Gazans and has driven the strip into a “humanitarian crisis”. Given Israel’s atrocities we demand that the University of Essex does not provide a platform to war criminals and those who violate Human Rights against the Palestinians.
University of Essex Palestine Solidarity Group
The University of Essex Students’ Union opposes unequivocally the Department of Government’s move to invite the Deputy Israeli Ambassador, Mr Alon Roth-Snir.
As the policy of our Union states:
Israel in its complete disregard of the human rights of the Palestinians and in its illegal occupation of Gaza and the West Bank is in breach of over 30 UN resolutions. Furthermore, Israel’s continuing oppression of the Palestinians both inside Israel proper, and the Occupied Territories has been compared by South African trade unionists and activists to the Apartheid regime; nowhere is this more visible than in the construction of the illegal Apartheid Wall. Palestinians living within Israel proper and the Occupied Territories are treated as second-class citizens with no equal rights confirming that Israel is not a democratic state for its entire people. To therefore invite a representative of such a state to the University beggars belief.
The position of the state of Israel within the international system, its diplomatic relations with neighbouring states and its conduct as an occupation force is well known and documented. It is unnecessary therefore to invite such a representative.
In addition, the invitation of a representative of the state of Israel calls into question the ethical practices of the University as an institution and I feel, with the passage of time will reflect badly on the University. My question is – would we have invited a representative of the apartheid regime in South Africa in the 1980s?
We should be proud that University of Essex Students’ Union has policy to boycott Israeli goods and also to be part of the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), but policy alone is not enough. We therefore call upon students to assemble in Square 3, at 12:30pm on Wednesday, February 20th to protest against the decision made by the Department of Government to invite the Deputy Ambassador for Israel.
Nathan J Bolton
University of Essex Students’ Union President (pc)