Image Credit: Cameron Samuel Keys

Oxford Israel Society condemns pro-Palestine encampment

Oxford Israel Society released a statement yesterday condemning the pro-Palestine encampment organised by Oxford Action for Palestine (OA4P) in front of the Pitt Rivers Museum. 

The Society condemned OA4P for “[failing] to mention Hamas, the source and cause of this war”, and called on the University of Oxford to reject all the demands and address antisemitism swiftly and sharply. 

The society defended Israel’s involvement and believed it was the state’s “duty of defence towards its citizens.” It expressed grievance for all victims of Hamas, in Israel and Gaza, and “pray for the swift release and rescue of hostages.”

The Society describes itself as “a Zionist organisation, defined as desiring the maintenance of the sovereign democratic Jewish State of Israel.” 

This comes as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak met with university leaders on Thursday over antisemitism concerns in universities after pro-Palestinian encampments were set up at Oxford, Cambridge, and other college campuses over the weekend. 

The Prime Minister’s spokesman reiterates “a zero-tolerance approach” to the intimidation of Jewish students by a “vocal and aggressive minority” whose right to free speech does not include the right to harass people or incite violence.”

Sunak issued a statement ahead of the meeting: “Universities should be places of rigorous debate but also bastions of tolerance and respect for every member of their community. A vocal minority on our campuses are disrupting the lives and studies of their fellow students and, in some cases, propagating outright harassment and antisemitic abuse. That has to stop.”

On 2nd May, the Union of Jewish Students, representing 9,000 Jewish students across the United Kingdom of Ireland, stated: “While students have a right to protest, these encampments create a hostile and toxic atmosphere on campus for Jewish students.”

Image Credit: Cameron Samuel Keys

Image Description: Camps in front of Pitt River Museum