University Denies Protesters’ Claims that Israeli Ambassador is here to Formalise Links with Hebrew University

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Fraser McGowan & Doug Jack
Deputy News Editor & Writer

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Updated: The Glasgow Guardian have been informed that an undergraduate Politics Honours class that were invited to the talk that is expected to be given by the Israeli Ambassador today were refused entry to the event. Security there told them that they were not on the list. The Glasgow Guardian spoke to one of the students, who wishes to remain anonymous, who highlighted their frustration and annoyance, stating: “Not only were we essentially tricked by the organisers of the event about who the speaker was, once we found out and decided to go, to then be refused after we were invited and had proof that we were invited, was just a total joke.”

The Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign is protesting across campus this morning against the arrival of the Israeli Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Daniel Taub.

According to SPSC literature the Ambassador is here to ‘formalise a link between the Glasgow University Law School and Hebrew University in Israel’. However, a spokesman for the University of Glasgow said that: ‘Contrary to some reports, there is no plan to formalise any links between the University of Glasgow and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.’

The SPSC says that Professor Adam Tomkins, who is Professor of Public Law at the University of Glasgow, and Aharon Barak, former President of the Supreme Court of Israel, arranged the Ambassador’s visit to campus. The University of Glasgow confirmed to the Glasgow Guardian that the Ambassador’s lecture was arranged by academics and not by the University itself.

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One of the protesters told the Glasgow Guardian: ‘It’s an absolute scandal that the Glasgow University Law School, a prestigious law school, is providing cover, helping to whitewash the crimes of the occupation. Crimes, which even the US State Department, recognises in their annual report. Amnesty has called Israel’s behaviour in the occupied territory a crime against humanity, which is the gravest level of international crime. So it’s really unbearable for the law department here, the Law School, to be associated with this kind of legal justification of an illegal occupation.’

After his lecture, it is believed that Ambassador Taub is talking to a group of students about security in the Middle East, with the venue being kept secret until this morning.

The protesters were met with a large police presence, with police vans patrolling University Avenue and officers blocking the entrance to the University, cordoning the protesters onto the pavement outside the John McIntyre Building.

This latest protest comes after a visit by another Israeli official, Yiftah Curiel, who visited the University in November to talk to the European Society and the Dialectic Society. The event was cancelled following a protest by the SPSC.

A spokesman for the University of Glasgow said: ‘The Israeli Ambassador was invited to the University by academic colleagues. We will also be welcoming the representative of the Palestinian Mission to the UK to the University of Glasgow next month. We regularly host high profile individuals to our campus and believe that our students should have access to a range of perspectives on important issues.”

The SRC President Breffni O’Connor was reportedly unhappy about the police presence on campus. She later told the Glasgow Guardian: ‘I don’t think the police should be on campus – that’s the job of security guards.’