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University of Bristol Friends of Palestine condemn decision to invite anti-Palestinian lobbyist

University of Bristol Friends of Palestine decision to invite anti-Palestinian lobbyist

The University of Bristol Friends of Palestine on Thursday issued a statement condemning the decision of the Free Speech Society to host Charlotte Korchak, a representative of the anti-Palestinian lobby group StandWithUs.

"We strongly condemn the Free Speech Society for inviting Charlotte Korchak and the University for approving the event, showing absolute disregard towards the dignity, equality, and well-being of their Palestinian students," the statement read.

It continued, "The decision to platform speakers from an ostensibly racist organisation undercuts the function of campus as a safe space for Palestinian students and the university's moral and legal obligations to equality and shared values. This decision sets a dangerous precedent, displaying that students from marginalised groups do not have guaranteed safety on campus."

The Free Speech Society, the statement added had invited someone who denounces the Palestinians' right to exist and engages in rhetoric that whitewashes and justifies Israel's apartheid regime.

READ: UK university excludes Palestinian staff and Palestine scholars from IHRA discussion

When contacted by the Treasurer of the Free Speech Society with an offer to debate with Charlotte Korchak and to make views known to her, the Friends of Palestine said a debate with the representatives of the apartheid regime implied there are two legitimate views but "In reality, it is unacceptable to debate apartheid and ethnic cleansing in Palestine. It is not simply that Charlotte Korchak's supremacist positions are wrong,

but that they are fundamentally illegitimate."

The University of Bristol Friends of Palestine said recent history of similarly anti Palestinian speakers and ex-Israel army officers in 2019 confirms the inadequacy of the university's current external speaker policy. They called for an urgent and comprehensive reform of the external speaker policy.

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