UCL Friends of Israel report published

UCL Friends of Israel report published

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This week, University College London (UCL) released its report into the disruption of a Friends of Israel Society event this October.

Back then, the society arranged a talk by former IDF officer Hen Mazzig about his experiences working for COGAT, the army unit that coordinates with Palestinians.

The talk became the target of anti-Israel protesters who tried to shut it down. The protesters intimidated the students who attended the talk; they used loudspeakers to disrupt the event; some even burst into the meeting through a window, knocking into the listeners and intimidating them. The police had to get involved, and Hen Mazzig was rushed out disguised as a security guard.

The protests and the meeting were live-streamed and the protesters were quickly condemned by the university, which also launched an investigation. It’s this investigation that’s now reporting.

UCL has made a serious effort to learn the lessons of the protest. The investigation recommends that loudspeakers be banned from future protests, and that sensitive events should be held in rooms that are easier to protect.

They have also tightened up procedures about room bookings and speakers more generally.

Most significantly, the investigation reviewed footage of the protests and listened to eyewitnesses. Five of the protesters, all UCL students, have been referred for disciplinary action based on this evidence.

Some of the lessons already seem to have been taken on board. A talk by Knesset member Elazar Stern took place at UCL on Wednesday 1 February, without any protests or disruptions.

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