The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) has slammed the “unserious response” by the University College London following an anti-Israel protest that turned violent last week.
“UCL seems more concerned with public relations than with protecting Jewish students’ rights of free speech,” Andrea Levin, CAMERA’s executive director, said in a statement. “It’s shameful.”
According to multiple reports, attendees at the Oct. 27 event, which was hosted by CAMERA on Campus, were forced to remain in the lecture room following a talk by Israeli activist and former IDF commander Hen Mazzig, as they waited for police to escort them through a crowd of about 100 demonstrators outside.
Video of the event showed the pro-Palestinian demonstrators coming through windows, screaming anti-Jewish slogans and shaving Jewish students. Additionally, police are also investigating reports by two female Jewish students who said they were assaulted.
In a statement a spokesman for UCL said that while the school does not “condone acts of intimidation or violence under any circumstances” it did not view the protests as violent.
“The freedom to debate and challenge views is fundamental to the nature of a university. We also acknowledge the right to peaceful protest. We regret protestors took measures to try to prevent the event from happening but stress that the protest was non-violent,” the UCL spokesman said.
Levin said that that UCL’s statement was an “unserious response” to the incident in which “the violence was denied, despite video footage that showed physical coercion.”
Levin also noted that UCL downplayed the extent of the mob attack, calling it a “small but noisy group of protestors.”
“It wasn’t small,” Levin said. “Scores can be seen on video. Police had to escort Jewish students through crowds of demonstrators, screaming for the destruction of the Jewish state.”
Furthermore, CAMERA is also calling on UCL to expel any students who broke into the event as well as shut down campus groups that were responsible for the violent protest.
“UCL needs to respond meaningfully, not just try to quell bad publicity,” Levin said. “Mob behavior mustn’t be tolerated on any campus.”