Students distributed ‘racist’ and ‘Islamophobic’ leaflets outside the main library

Edinburgh Uni Palestine society said the pamphlets portray ‘Arabs and Palestinians as terrorists’

Students at the University of Edinburgh were found by members of Palestine Society distributing what they described as “blatantly racist and Islamophobic material” outside the main library.

Edinburgh University Justice for Palestine Society claims the pamphlets contain material that portrays “Arabs and Palestinians as terrorists”, blaming “Muslim on Muslim violence for the killing of Palestinians by the Israeli State”.

The students distributing the pamphlets were representatives of the StandWithUs group, who claimed that they “were attacked by a mob of people looking to intimidate and bully him, calling them “a Zionist terrorist”.

Palestine Society rejected “the claim that the student and the StandWithUs representative running the stand faced antisemitic harassment.”

The student representatives for StandWithUs were found handing out the leaflets on April 4th outside the main library from a stall.

StandWithUs, also known as the Israel Emergency Alliance, defines itself as an “Israel education organisation that inspires and educates people of all ages and backgrounds, challenges misinformation, and fights antisemitism.”

One of the leaflets reads: “The lies spread by BDS – the boycott movement against Israel and the truth BDS ignores”.

Another page reads: “Israel has nothing to do with this slaughter,” regarding the death of 2,000 Muslims every month.

The leaflet then goes on to showcase estimated figures attributed to Muslim deaths, with an estimate of 10,000,000 Muslims being killed by Muslims.

In an Instagram post, the Palestine Society said the material distributed portrayed “Arabs and Palestinians as terrorists and conflates explicitly peaceful BDS activities with terror”.

The society went on to say that information inside the pamphlets blames “Muslim on Muslim violence for the killing of Palestinians by the Israeli State, denying Israeli violence against Palestinians”.

StandWithUs told The Edinburgh Tab that: “Our student at the University of Edinburgh was assured by the Student Union that he would be allowed to set up a stall teaching about Israel.”

“When standing there on the day of the event, our student was attacked by a mob of people looking to intimidate and bully him, calling him “a Zionist terrorist”. They refused to leave until the allotted time when the stall was meant to be shut down”.

In response, Palestine Society said: “The two representatives running the stand called Palestinians terrorists and called the Middle Eastern students protesting the material irrational. In the same breath, they thanked the white students present for being patient and rational”.

“We reject the claim that the student and the StandWithUs representative running the stand faced antisemitic harassment from us. All we were doing  was standing up for Palestinians and protesting the racist and Islamophobic rhetoric being put forward by the Israeli group StandWithUs.”

“Palestinian students should have the right to defend themselves against hateful Zionist rhetoric on campus. Unfortunately, criticisms of Israel are often conflated with antisemitism, and Edinburgh University Students Association’s (EUSA)  adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism perpetuates this”.

The Palestine Society says that the issue was raised with EUSA directly, however, it claims its members were told that there was nothing EUSA could do and that they should instead fill out a complaint form.

A spokesperson for EUSA said: “The Students’ Association does not support the spreading of hate materials on campus. We did not authorise the StandWithUs UK stand on campus.”

“We have been made aware that the students who were running the stand may have acquired their table from Teviot Row House. We regularly facilitate students borrowing tables from us, but we do not monitor what the tables will be used for, and our loaning of them does not constitute support for any activity they are used for.”

The Palestine Society has questioned EUSA’s supposed involvement in allowing the stand to take place, saying: “EUSA maintains that while they regularly lend tables to students, they did not give StandWithUs permission to have a stall on campus, yet StandWithUs states that they did have permission from the university to hold their stand for an allotted period of time.

“What is the truth? Clearly EUSA needs to relook its process for lending out tables and hosting external groups on campus.”

Members of the Palestine Society said they “did not feel supported by EUSA, which put the responsibility of dismantling a racist stand on those who are being directly attacked by it.”

“If, as they state, it is up to students to resolve these issues, then what is EUSA for?”

“There also seems to be a lack of communication between the members of EUSA, as we have gotten different messages from different members. The sabbatical officers seemed to be very supportive of us, but their initial sentiments seem to have been erased by the Senior Management Team”.

“[EUSA] should be ashamed of themselves for their gross negligence in response to the racist attacks on campus against the students they claim to be supporting.”

A University spokesperson told The Edinburgh Tab: “This was an ad-hoc unplanned activity and was not authorised by the university.”

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