Friday, 25 February 2011

Free speech allowed this time - just

Israeli Ambassador
In a post earlier this month I noted that free speech was snubbed when a guest lecturer to Edinburgh University was shouted down by pro Palestinian demonstrators.

On Tuesday night demonstrators were again out in force when this time the Israeli ambassador gave a speech to students in the McEwan Hall.  Police were present in force and, despite a ten minute protest inside the meeting, the lecture by ambassador Ron Prosor went ahead.  Reports here and here.

The meeting was chaired by local academic Owen Dudley-Edwards.


Anonymous said...

I don't think the issue is free speech its just a lot of students feel as if in the current climate having him is inappropriate. Many were angry at the major disruption caused on the day as well. We were not warned and we were not told about how much of a mess campus would be on the day.

I'm a Biomed Sci student and all my classes are in the Med School beside McEwan hall. I was Ided by police EIGHT TIMES in four hours going to classes in the building. When I arrived for classes at 8.30am there were already police on all the doors Iding people. They interrupted out lab work and had sniffer dogs inside buildings which are meant to be for sterile medical microbiology work. Yes sure free speech is allowed and hence so is the free speech of the protesters but the a wider issue was the invitation for major events like this in the busiest week of semester.

Many who turned up to protest were furious that they had been made late for coursework hand ins. That lectures in the morning were cancelled because students couldn't get in to the building not the real issue that in reality the university shouldn't have in my opinion a speaker at the university who is part of a regime that has broken every fundamental principal the university stands for.

Cameron Rose said...

Thanks for your reasoned comment. You raise two issues.
First, I note the disruption you so clearly describe. It seems it was a response to the earlier incident - One could say the incidents were characterised respectively by intimidation and inconvenience. Nonetheless, I appreciate the extent of the disruption you describe.

Secondly your last sentence gives the basis of your opinion. Here again I find the relative context instructive. The 'regime' is far from perfect. But it is a democracy which has been threatened with annihilation - and with some considerable evidence that the threat is real.

Thanks for reading and engaging.

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