Backlash as Israeli diplomat visits campus in PolSoc event

5 mins read

The visit of an Israeli diplomat to the university has come under fire from groups within the campus.

The speaker is due to be hosted by Stirling’s Politics Society in an event taking place on November 15.

The event, ‘PolSoc Presents: Conversations with the Middle East’, is the first of many events hosted by the society in an attempt to facilitate political discussion.

Coming from one of the most topical nations in the Middle East, the Israeli diplomats visit is set to be one of the highest profile events on campus of the semester.

Credit: Rebecca McCurdy

The Politics Society have insisted their event is not representative of their views as a political society.

PolSoc said: Throughout its existence the society has aimed to facilitate the exchange of political ideas amongst students whilst encouraging educational discussions about issues relating to politics, philosophy and history – regardless of political stance or knowledge.

“This event will be engaging and informative for students who attend. The society works to be international in our outlook and inclusive in our intent.

“Like all of our events, we explicitly do not endorse the views or actions of our speaker of our speaker or their government.

“We choose to act as a platform for a wide range of views and opinions and promote civilised intellectual debate.”

However the prominent visit has been met with increasing controversy, as the Students’ Union have been condemned for their approval of the visit.

Stirling University’s Scottish Socialist Party are among the opposition group who question the Union’s motives.

In a statement to Brig, they said: “Stirling University Scottish Socialist Party wholeheartedly rejects the presence of an Israeli diplomat on our campus and are appalled that our own Union had allowed their visit.

“Take a minute to think about this: the Union has greenlit visitation from a United Nations condemned state, guilty of several serious human rights violations against the people of Palestine.

“What makes this even more unforgivable is that living on campus are Palestinian students. How must they feel about their Union’s decision?

“The SSP Society stands alongside hundreds of students and staff alike in solidarity with Palestine, and in opposition to the Union’s decision”

The Students’ Union have also received backlash for giving the talk the go ahead, following the rejecting of the Libertarian Society’s guest speaker Count Dankula.

YouTuber Count Dankula was banned from speaking at the university last month due to the controversial figures previous conviction under the Communications Act 2003, as the Union felt that this would violate their inclusion policy.

This has sparked criticism from the University of Stirling’s Socialist Society regarding the “worrying message” the Israeli diplomats visit may send.

The Socialist Society told Brig: “The University of Stirling Socialist Society condemns the ongoing occupation and abuse of human rights inflicted upon Palestine by the Israeli state.

“The invitation of a representative of the state of Israel – and in effect a representative of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people – is deeply concerning.

“Just one month ago, the Students’ Union barred a speaker from discussing free speech after his controversial sense of humour had him charged. If a bad tasting joke warrants someone unfit to address the student body, then why is it deemed fit that a spokesperson of apartheid Israel should speak at an event on the Middle East without Palestinian representation?

“This sends out an extremely worrying message.”

VP Communities, Jamie Grant said: “The Politics Society have invited a diplomat to speak at a Q&A event on campus, as part of a series of talks on the Middle East.

“At present, the Students’ Union does not have an active policy that would prohibit this particular speaker. As this is one part in a schedule of talks, we feel balance will be upheld.

“We support the right of our members to protest peacefully, and steps have been taken to ensure this event remains accessible and in keeping with Union policy.”





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