Thursday, 27 January 2011

Peaceful Protest Causes Anger and Condemnation By LSE Israel Society (as usual...)

Milad Ranei
Tuesday 25th January, the London School of Economic's weekly newspaper - The Beaver, published a letter written to the Editor, by the LSE Students' Union Israel Society:


Sir We are writing further to hearing about the Beaver’s support for the Palestine Society’s campaign to boycott water from Eden Springs UK.
We understand fully the importance and role of a strong pro-Palestinian voice on campus. Of course, it is legitimate to disagree with the policies of the Israeli government.
However, we object to the method of protest. On Thursday outside Clement House members of the Palestine Society were standing dressed in army outfits holding oversized guns. They had placed around them bottles of Eden water with red liquid inside.  Perhaps this was supposed to represent Palestinian blood?  This “stunt” was offensive and childish. Furthermore, such crude campaigning does nothing to further good campus relations and dialogue between the Israel Society and the Palestine Society.  It is divisive and creates a hostile atmosphere. Please could the Beaver explain its support for such a method of campaigning, which is clearly highly offensive and divisive?
It is interesting to note that the water in question here originates from West Hyde, Hertfordshire, not the Golan Heights. In addition, since the Palestine Society’s aim is to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people, the Golan Heights does not even fall within this remit. The only explanation the Israel Society can draw from this is that the Palestine Society are more anti-Israel than they are pro-Palestine.
The response from the Beaver Editorial Board was as follows: 
Israel Society - Thank you for your letter regarding the stance expressed in our editorial ("This is the only way we can participate" , 18th January 2011). 
We should preface our justification of support by saying that at the time of going to press last week, the Palestine Society had yet to protest in the manner that they did outside St.Clements. That said, we continue to support their actions 
Because the cause they are campaigning against concerns an allegedly illegal occupation which has displaced a large number of civilians, we believe the comparatively tame nature of their protest is fully justified. Whether those harmed by Israel's actions are Syrian or Palestinian, the society is right to highlight the methods that Israel deems acceptable. 
As for the revelation that the water originates from Hertfordshire, we are confident this is immaterial to the discussion. We remain concerned witht he parent company's actions, viz, profiteering from an unjust state of affairs. 
Please be assured this does not correspond with any uneasiness about the actions of the Israel Society, which we appreciate is committed to constructive dialogue. 
Nonetheless, it is laughable that the LSE Israel Society oppose peaceful protest, describing it as "childish and offensive." Then again when protesting for basic rights, Justice and Freedom for Palestinians, who are murdered on a daily basis, it is difficult to please everyone, even the 'mouthpieces' of the oppressors.

It would be interesting to know whether the Israeli Society finds the illegal colonial settlements built in the West Bank offensive, or if they find the present siege on Gaza offensive, or if they find Avigdor Lieberman's statements offensive, and if they do, what are they doing to protest this? Nothing.

 Perhaps time would be better spent pursuing more noble causes, instead of being the first to criticise the actions of the LSE Palestine Society. 

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