Birkbeck, University of London is set to host the controversial Socialist Workers Party (SWP) this weekend for an event entitled “The Big Socialist Weekender”.
Ilan Pappé will address the event on the topic: “Anti-Zionism is not antisemitism.”
Zionism is the movement supporting the right of Jews to self-determination. Self-determination is guaranteed to all peoples under article 1 of the UN Charter.
Ilan Pappe has made several inflammatory comments, claiming accusations of antisemitism have been used “to stifle debate on Palestine” and to “depose” politicians supportive of Palestine as well as ridiculing concerns that the Labour Party has a problem with institutional antisemitism. He has also said that Jeremy Corbyn should not “be afraid” after laying a wreath at the grave of the Black September terrorists who tortured and murdered Israeli Olympians, saying: “as an Israeli Jew I was there [at the same graveyard]…and I paid respect for the freedom fighters of Palestine.”
He also defended Chris Williamson’s claim that the Labour Party is “too apologetic” about antisemitism, arguing that “you can’t satisfy these beasts.”
Mr Pappe has also defended Jeremy Corbyn’s connection to Holocaust denier Paul Eisen and other antisemites as well as his links to terror groups.
Many of these comments have come while delivering speeches of the same title at previous events, making it likely that they could be repeated this weekend.
To add insult to injury, the event attempting to whitewash antisemitism is set to take place on a Saturday, the Jewish sabbath. This severely limits the Jewish community’s ability to participate in an event designed to define their own oppression. The SWP has form on this front, having previously been involved in an event featuring the antisemitism-denial group and sham Jewish representative organisation, Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL), hosted by their front organisation Stand Up to Racism on the holiest night of the Jewish calendar, Kol Nidrei, the night of Yom Kippur.
Birkbeck has previously come under scrutiny over an antisemitic demonstrator at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, who was filmed claiming that the Holocaust happened because Jews are “cowards”. He was later reportedly sighted being escorted off campus by security staff at Birkbeck, University of London. The man had been filmed by students and a member of Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Demonstration and Event Monitoring Unit at a demonstration at SOAS.
Campaign Against Antisemitism will be approaching Birkbeck to urge the university to reconsider this event and its overtly inflammatory speaker.
If any students are concerned about antisemitism on campus or need assistance, they can call us on 0330 822 0321, or e-mail [email protected].