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)