Student Voice: The culture of violence within our SU

Following the ongoing controversy over the LSESU Palestine Society’s commemoration of terrorists, LSE student Liam Marc Robson reflects on the LSESU’s handling of the incident in this article cross-posted from The Beaver. All views are his own, and do not necessarily represent those of Student Rights.

“What is terrorism?” It used to be so simple.

A man claiming political motives breaks into the home of a woman and tries to stab her and her elderly mother with a knife stolen from her own kitchen – that is terrorism; a thirteen-year-old boy hops on his bike after visiting his local candy store when he is stabbed in the neck, a legitimate target via his nationality – that is terrorism; a mother and her two-year-old child are stabbed and injured and two men killed by a man who wrote “let the revolution erupt” a day before picking up a knife and seeking out his targets – that is terrorism. Isn’t it?

Well, apologies everyone – it would seem I’m mistaken. In fact, upon bringing to the attention of LSE Students’ Union the fact that a prominent society and SU officer were loudly commemorating the perpetrators of the above acts (Amjad Hatem al-Jundi, Hassan Manasra, and Muhannad Halabi, as it happens) and claiming to “stand with” their “resistance”, one of the questions posed to me was just that: “what is terrorism?”

I’d like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the SU for giving me the opportunity to reflect upon the fact that the targeted and politically-motivated attacking of a mother and her two-year old child may not in fact be terrorism. Out of ignorance I have stood.

A further question asked of me was whether those whom the LSESU Palestine Society sought to commemorate with their wonderfully creative pro-BDS banner, made with the help of the SU’s very own ‘Community and Welfare’ officer, and recent “Want the Truth about the clashes in Palestine?” exhibition that was held on School-owned premises, had in fact killed civilians?

Please, everyone, get with the programme: you knew the IDF like to train ‘em up young, but thirteen-year-old candy-toting boys on bikes – maybe not so civilian after all! Great!

In truth, I wasn’t at all surprised about the culture of violent extremism I encountered when I started university last month.

How could I be when the SU has previously voted down a motion seeking to condemn January’s massacre at the Charlie Hebdo offices and a Jewish supermarket in Paris; has set at the top of its agenda lobbying against the counter-extremism ‘Prevent’ programme despite the ever-growing line of prominent terrorists who have graduated from our various sister-colleges at the University of London; and – perhaps most tellingly of all – has chosen to twin itself with the Islamic University of Gaza.

I find the last point telling not only because I’m a heartless, Islamophobic Zionist, but because the Islamic University of Gaza is an institution at which the dean of Quranic Studies two-weeks-ago declared:“…every Jew in Palestine is a combatant – even the children. Bombings should be carried out in the very heart of the enemy, in Haifa, Jaffa, Tel Aviv and Hadera, as was the case in the past, because that is what hurts the Jews.”

When I informed the LSESU General Secretary about the murderous anti-semitic rhetoric coming from our twin institution I was told that it was a “loose” twinning, so I guess I’ll chill out.

I may voice my concern as a non-Jewish British citizen, but it’s the LSE’s Israeli and Jewish students I’m concerned for.

The sickening truth of the current climate on campus is that were an Israeli student to fly out to Haifa this weekend to visit their parents, or a Jew to fly to Jerusalem, and they, through a twisted game of chance, were to be the victims of the next ‘Pro-Palestine’ attack on Israeli civilians, the buildings of their university could the next day be hosting events commemorating the legitimate acts of their brave murderers – and their SU wouldn’t have a thing to say about it.

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