UPDATES

Anti-Israel agitators disrupt expert presentation

Mar 11, 2015 | Glen Falkenstein

Anti-Israel agitators disrupt expert presentation
news_item/Thugs600.gif

 

 

A version of this article appeared on J-Wire (11/03/2015)

 

Protesters have disrupted a lecture, fighting with security guards, at the University of Sydney.

The lecture was being given by retired British military officer Colonel Richard Kemp, a world-renowned expert on armed conflict, the Middle East and a prolific media commentator,

Colonel Kemp had been invited by the University to speak on “Ethical Dilemmas of Military Tactics” and “Dealing with non-state armed groups,” in light of Australia’s military engagement with non-state actors, including ISIS.

Kemp began his talk with a brief explanation of his career and a joke about England’s cricket loss to Bangladesh on Monday. He went on to discuss non-state militant groups in Ireland and Afghanistan and the obligations of soldiers when engaging with civilians and civilian groups. Before he could go into any detail or discuss any other issues, he was interrupted by over a dozen students bursting into the lecture hall screaming “Richard Kemp, you can’t hide, you support genocide.”

A demonstrator with a megaphone drowned out any attempts by the moderator to get the lecture back on track. Protestors wrestled with security guards who had asked them to leave and were then forced to remove them. Protestors stood on chairs, began to push students and shout loudly at those who objected to their behaviour.

Professor Jake Lynch, the director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS) and an ardent opponent of Israel, shouted in the faces of students, including at a senior officer of the Jewish student union. He then proceeded to stand on chairs and film attendees. Lynch screamed that attempts to remove the protestors was a violent attack on freedom of speech by security guards. When another academic suggested that he ask a question, Lynch responded that was not what this is about, only later opting to ask a question when invited by the Colonel.

One student commented that Kemp “hadn’t even mentioned Israel or Palestine” in the time he had to talk. Another student mentioned that she did not have strong views on either side of this issue, was studying international relations and had come expecting a talk, not an ambush.

After about 20 minutes of shouting, the protestors were finally removed from the hall, having objected loudly to their treatment by the security guards and some others present. Kemp, resuming as if nothing had happened, continued to speak on engagement with non-civilian groups in armed conflict. Concluding his talk, Kemp briefly addressed what he termed a “commercial break.”

“This protest was about my perspective on the IDF… I was in Israel during the 2014 summer conflict and I do believe that the IDF in their attack on Hamas in Gaza… were doing everything they could to protect civilians… People have told me I am wrong, but no one has told me what more steps Israel could take to minimize civilian casualties.”

Students, academics and other interested people had come from all over to hear an expert speak on a topical and important subject. Sydney University academic Professor Suzanne Rutland was present at the event and I spoke to her shortly following its conclusion:

“I feel that the demonstration really showed clearly that the anti-Israel group speaks in slogans without any sort of understanding of the intricacies of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and without any sort of acknowledgement that when they stand there chanting, “free Palestine,” what they mean is the dismantling of the Zionist entity which means genocide against Israel’s Jewish population.”

Professor Rutland said, “Accusing Israel of committing genocide has no academic basis whatsoever; they even said the Colonel (Kemp) was responsible for genocide. I strongly support legitimate criticism and when we teach about Israel we try to present a critical, balanced voice which is part of academic learning.”

“What I think the demonstration represented was the struggle faced by myself and others on campus who are opposed to Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions. While we try to follow the rules of polite debate, the BDS supporters will often not allow an alternative voice and this is what happened during the lecture.”

“Given the anti-Israel bias on campus we were grateful Dr Gil Merom agreed to chair the function and advertise it to his students.”

Glen Falkenstein is a Policy Analyst/Staff Writer at the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC)

 

Tags:

RELATED ARTICLES


455daec3 C2a8 8752 C215 B7bd062c6bbc

After the Israel-Hamas ceasefire for hostages deal

Nov 29, 2023 | Update
Screenshot of Hamas bodycam footage as terrorists approach an Israeli vehicle during the terror organisation's October 7, 2023 attack in southern Israel, released by the IDF and GPO (Screenshot)

Horror on Video / International Law and the Hamas War

Oct 31, 2023 | Update
Sderot, Israel. 7th Oct, 2023. Bodies of dead Israelis lie on the ground following the attacks of Hamas (Image: Ilia Yefimovich/dpa/Alamy Live News)

Israel’s Sept. 11, only worse

Oct 11, 2023 | Update
Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu (r) gets his long-awaited face-to-face meeting with US President Joe Biden in New York (Photo: Avi Ohayon, Israeli Government Press Office)

Netanyahu meets Biden, other world leaders, in New York

Sep 27, 2023 | Update
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who gave an address on Aug. 28 threatening the US and laying out the Iranian-led axis's new "unity of the arenas" doctrine. (Photo: Shutterstock, mohammad kassir)

US-Iran prisoner swap deal set to go through

Sep 12, 2023 | Update
A rally of Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party last year: Yet outside these faithful, Abbas is not only largely unpopular, but his rule over the PA has seen the Palestinian parliament dissolved, judiciary sidelined, and his party hollowed out (Photo: Shutterstock, Anas-Mohammed)

The Crisis in the PA

Aug 28, 2023 | Update

SIGN UP FOR AIJAC EMAILS

RECENT POSTS

Screenshot 2024 02 20 At 12.19.24 Pm

“The Jewish community of Australia has gone through horrific… intimidation tactics since Oct 7” – Joel Burnie on Sky News

Screenshot 2024 02 16 At 12.32.57 Pm

Israel “acutely aware of the [humanitarian] issues its forces face in Rafah”: Joel Burnie on SkyNews

Image: Shutterstock

UNRWA is NOT running out of money. Who says so? UNRWA does!

Screenshot 2024 02 15 At 6.22.56 pm

AIJAC disappointed with Prime Ministers’ statement on Rafah that appears “divorced from reality”

UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini (Image: UNRWA)

Of UNRWA and other unremarkable things in the media 

Screenshot 2024 02 20 At 12.19.24 Pm

“The Jewish community of Australia has gone through horrific… intimidation tactics since Oct 7” – Joel Burnie on Sky News

Screenshot 2024 02 16 At 12.32.57 Pm

Israel “acutely aware of the [humanitarian] issues its forces face in Rafah”: Joel Burnie on SkyNews

Image: Shutterstock

UNRWA is NOT running out of money. Who says so? UNRWA does!

Screenshot 2024 02 15 At 6.22.56 pm

AIJAC disappointed with Prime Ministers’ statement on Rafah that appears “divorced from reality”

UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini (Image: UNRWA)

Of UNRWA and other unremarkable things in the media 

SORT BY TOPICS