However, it’s also become a centre of a singularly unenlightened campaign – the demonisation and delegitimisation of Israel, and I’ve seen some of the consequences myself, from teams of intimidatory BDS fanatics attempting to cajole shoppers into boycotting Marks and Spencer’s on Princes Street, to ugly marches of screaming activists with their repellent slogans. Some of the churches have driven such activity, and needless to say there is a flourishing Palestine Solidarity Campaign there as well as anti-Israel activism at the ancient university.
The university’s International Relations Society had refused to hold the event under its auspices – “We came to the conclusion that providing a platform for a representative of the Israeli state would be at the expense of the millions of Palestinians who live under Apartheid,” said its president, Ledys Sanjuan – and the talk went ahead at a later time than planned.
But not for long.
In the words of one of the activists: “University security soon arrived but the peaceful demonstration – there were some 40 to 50 – continued unabated for a further 45 minutes until Khaldi finally got the message that he was not welcome and left the lecture theatre. The majority of the people present in the lecture theatre had made it clear that they were not interested in listening to Israeli propaganda.”
"We sent a clear message today that those who come to our University to represent an Apartheid state and to defend the dropping of white phosphorous on children are absolutely not welcome. Khaldi works for the openly racist Avigdor Lieberman, a man who has called for the execution of Arab members of the Knesset ... The recent leak of the 'Palestine Papers' has proven beyond any doubt that Israel does not seek peace and that it is purely a colonial settler state which seeks to indefinitely oppress the indigenous Palestinian population. We will continue to protest events where representatives of a racist state are present and fully support the global campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Apartheid Israel until it abides by international law’".Brays the Scottish PSC on its website – note the ignorant misconceptions and distortions of history, by the way :
‘Students made it clear that with over 60 years of Israel boycotting the human and national rights of the Palestinians, Israeli apologists for murder and ethnic cleansing did not deserve the right to free speech that they denied the Palestinians.
The students pointed out that Israel wants nothing more than continued "dialogue"; the kind of dialogue that expects everything of the indigenous Palestinians, and nothing from the racist colonising state – the Palestine Papers make this abundantly clear.
Like Mubarak, Ishmael Khaldi has had better days. After more than an hour of hiding behind his bodyguards, Khaldi gave up, leaving the room to chants of "Cheerio, cheerio, cheerio."
Israel has had its chance to "dialogue" and it abused it.
When Palestine is free, perhaps Edinburgh University's Psychology Society can invite Khaldi to explain what was going through his mind when he practiced and promoted Apartheid.
Until then, no university society should tarnish its reputation by providing a platform to Khaldi or any other ambassadors of crime.
Well done to Edinburgh University Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) for organising a fantastic protest at very short notice.’So much for enlightenment, so much for free and reasoned debate, so much for higher learning and the mutual exchange of ideas in a respectful and tolerant atmosphere.
So much, indeed, for “The Athens of the North”.
You can see Mr Khaldi giving a similar speech here: