There were protests and disruption when Daniel Ayalon, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel, in the UK to meet British government officials, visited universities.
Bristol Palestine Solidarity Campaign organized a sizeable picket, at very short notice, when he visited Bristol University to speak at an early evening lecture.
Then, on 26 October, over 50 students and activists greeted him outside a lecture at the London School of Economics (LSE) with placards and banners, whilst inside audience members heckled him as a “racist” and “murderer” in relation to the illegal occupation and violence carried out by the Israeli state.
The Minister began and ended his lecture amid boos and chants of “Free, Free, Palestine” whilst his speech was interrupted relentlessly throughout with audience members questioning Israel’s atrocities.
This action was organized by the LSE Students’ Union Palestine Society and the Palestine Solidarity Initiative (which advances the Palestinian right to education). The LSE Students’ Union is officially twinned with Al-Najah University and has previously voted to divest funds from those companies profiting from the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The motion also called on LSE to respect human rights and follow suit in embracing a divestment agenda with regards to such companies.
Students held a week long occupation in January as a response to the Israeli attacks on Gaza last winter, resulting in LSE agreeing to practically support Palestinian students affected by the violence.
Mira Hamed who attended the lecture and is the Chair of the LSE SU Palestine Society said after the protest, “The Palestine Society at LSE has grown in support since the atrocities committed in Gaza which explains the huge turnout tonight. We will continue to support the growing international resistance against the occupation of Palestine until a just peace is achieved.”
Merna Al Azzeh, a Palestinian Masters student who was in the audience added, “As an LSE student, I find it disgusting that LSE could invite a Minister to speak from a racist government that has been committing war crimes for the last 60 years. The recent Goldstone Report overwhelmingly condemns the genocide waged against Gazan civilians last winter and as a Palestinian I am reassured by the growing international resistance to Israeli Apartheid”.