LSE Student Union excuses commemoration of terrorists

Yesterday, Student Rights reported on a vigil held by Leeds University Palestine Solidarity Group which had commemorated terrorists responsible for murderous attacks on Israeli civilians.

It has since emerged that a similar event also occurred at the London School of Economics (LSE) last week.

An exhibition, organised by the LSE Student Union (LSE SU) Palestine Society, featured a banner which listed the names of several Palestinians which the society “stands with” who had carried out terror attacks.

Meanwhile, a leaflet handed out to students also included the names of these individuals, which it declared the society members were “commemorating” after they had been killed during “resistance”.

Those listed included:

  • Muhannad Halabi, who stabbed and killed two men and injured a women and her child in Jerusalem.
  • Amjad Hatem al-Jundi,who stabbed an Israeli soldier and stole a gun in Kiryat Gat before he was shot
  • Thaer Abu Gazala, shot dead by an Israeli Defence Forces officer after he stabbed four Israelis, including a soldier, with a screwdriver in Tel Aviv.
  • Fadi Alloun, who stabbed a 15 year old boy before being shot dead by police.

In response to complaints from Jewish students, the LSE SU released a statement which conceded that the exhibition featured “images of killed Palestinian teenagers and children [which] were clearly distressing”, and apologised to students who may have been upset by the images.

However, the main complaint that students were commemorating terrorists was dismissed, with the LSE SU General Secretary Nona Buckley-Irvine stating that:

“We’re satisfied with the Society’s explanation that they were attempting to recognise that Palestinians are dying as a result of the recent escalation of the conflict.

Complaints may have been mitigated if the Society put the context in which those people had died, but they were under no obligation to and there is nothing to stop another student providing this information”.

The context in which these individuals died is that they were carrying out violent attacks on soldiers and civilians, and is an utterly vital part of the story – particularly if they are to be commemorated as victims.

In failing to provide this context, the Palestine Society can only be attempting to mislead students – a level of intellectual dishonesty that makes it impossible to have the “healthy and robust debate” on the issue the LSE SU calls for.

Here at Student Rights we are deeply concerned to see students celebrate the perpetrators of violent attacks; something the Union of Jewish Students campaigns director Russell Langer has called “totally inexcusable”.

It should be the duty of a student union to challenge societies which act as apologists for murderers or spread misleading information, not to excuse it or palm that responsibility off onto other students.

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