Oxford University, the institution that educated such venerable figures as William of Ockham, Arnold J. Toynbee, Christopher Wren, Thomas More, Stephen Hawking, H. L. A. Hart, T. S. Eliot and many others, is holding “Israeli Apartheid week.” The Oxford Palestinian Union are promoting the event as the “30th anniversary of the international convention on the suppression and punishment of the crime of apartheid.”
The conference boasts speakers such as Ilan Pappe from Haifa University and Gabi Piterberg of UCLA as well as films such as “Arna’s Children”. It turns out that the group is not an official university group and thus ran into some potential friction from the university for using Oxford’s name in the title of the conference and the flyers.
What did the Jews on campus do? Well, they went to the dean to try and have the university lay sanctions against the conference, citing the potential for provocation. The proctor replied:
A number of events are being held by an unofficial student society this week. The proctors have considered the complaints, from students and others, in the context of the University’s Code of Practice on the Freedom of Speech, which allows the free expression of opinions within the law, and have seen no evidence that there has been a breach of the code…the situation will be kept under review. The proctors are also taking steps to promote dialogue between the student societies so as to encourage mutual understanding and forbearance.
No doubt that last bit will involve some tea and crumpets. Adrienne Rivlin, ex president of the Jewish Student Union, claimed:
Given the current political climate, it’s deeply concerning that the Palestinian Society should choose such an inflammatory title, designed to be provocative and reinforce preconceived prejudices, rather than trying to build bridges and foment dialogue. Israeli and Jewish students on campus unfortunately can only feel intimidated by their actions
Ah, a little Abe Foxman in training that Rivlin is.
Abdel Razzaq Takriti, media spokesman for the Palestinian Society, said,
We are simply stating our belief and explaining that Israel is an apartheid state, to encourage people to take a stance and increase public pressure on Israel to change its apartheid policies.
Ah, a little Saeb Erekat in training that Tarkiti is.
Thanks to Jpost.