NUS backs LSE students after UK government slams protest against Israeli ambassador

NUS backs LSE students after UK government slams protest against Israeli ambassador
The UK union expressed their concern that a protest led by Muslim students was characterised as 'a violent mob'.
2 min read
18 November, 2021
The Israeli ambassador who visited the university previously called the 1948 Nakba - the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their native land to create the state of Israel -  an "Arab lie" [Getty]

The UK National Union of Students (NUS) has shown "full solidarity" with students at London School of Economics (LSE) who have faced widespread criticism after protesting against a university event which hosted Israeli ambassador Tzipi Hotovely last week.

The union deplored the negative portrayals of the protest on 9 November as "concerning", after government members - including UK Home Secretary Priti Patel - encouraged police investigations into the demonstration against the Israeli ambassador and likened it to antisemitism.

Videos posted on social media show Hotovely - known for her fervent opposition to the creation of a Palestinian state - leaving the event to boos while some protesters attempted to confront the ambassador, who was surrounded by bodyguards.

LSE For Palestine - the student group who organised the protest - said the protest was "a peaceful... [and] tremendous demonstration of solidarity with Palestine".

"It is... concerning that government officials... are clamping down on any form of student dissent with threats of police involvement... the right to protest is fundamental to our democracy," the NUS said in a statement.

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The union voiced concern that "a protest led by students of colour and Muslim students was quickly characterised as 'a violent mob'".

"The gross misrepresentation of the protest... does not make our communities safer," it added.

LSE for Palestine said in a statement on Saturday said: "There is a gross imbalance of power at play here, politicians at the very top of the British government unjustly singling out university students for protesting the racism of the representative of a nuclear-armed ally of Britain."

The LSE said it will review processes around such events, stating "intimidation or threats of violence are completely unacceptable" and that they will "take action if any students are identified as having made threats of violence".