LUSU posts apology for pro-Palestine statement before Jewish Society gave response

The statement, redaction, and apology were all issued without consulting the Liberation Officers

The Student Union posted a statement expressing support for Palestinians under siege on Wednesday, May 26th.

The statement was removed the same day following complaints that the Jewish Society was not involved in the crafting of the statement.

An apology was posted by LUSU on May 27th, at no point were any of the Liberation Officers involved or consulted.

The initial statement from LUSU

The initial statement was titled “LUSU Stands in Solidarity with Palestine”. Within, the SU condemned the “violence unleashed” upon the Palestinian people by the Israeli government, also highlighting the invasion of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and illegal evictions of Palestinians from East Jerusalem.

Although they also condemn the violence by Hamas which has killed 12 Israelis, they note the huge disparity between this and the 242 Palestinians killed this month. They took special note to also condemn those who use the crisis to justify antisemitism and offered solidarity to Jewish students.

In response to the many calls for the University to divest their finances away from companies complicit in Israel’s actions, they “support an Ethical Investment Policy” which calls for an end to tuition fees contributing to the purchase of arms and support of violence. The full statement can be read at the bottom of this page.

The original statement by the SU

The post was then removed

This post was removed a few hours later after complaints were made about the post and the lack of consultation from the Jewish Society that went into the formulation of the statement.

Jewish Society spoke to us about LUSU contacting them saying: “Yesterday morning Lancaster University Jewish Society (JSoc) received an email from the FTO Team requesting a meeting to discuss a statement that they were planning to release regarding the current situation in the Middle East. No specific time-frame was given to the JSoc and, with it being exam season, we were unable to respond immediately.”

After seeing the post they said: “We were disappointed and frustrated that this had occurred, despite LUSU’s seemingly good intentions, and immediately met with them and UJS to raise this issue. As a result, the original statement was taken down and a clarifying, holding statement was made. We look forward to meeting with LUSU in the next week to discuss the next steps.”

The apology statement from LUSU

The apology claimed that the Jewish Society did not respond to offers for consultation before the statement was posted, and in future, all relevant parties will be contacted “before stating a position on any complex geopolitical issues”.

The post from LUSU stated: “This morning, the Full Time Officer Team contacted the Jewish Society student leaders and unfortunately before receiving a response, the statement went live on the website before we received a response.

“The Full Time Officer team sincerely apologises for this and going forward, they will ensure they consult relevant parties before stating a position on any complex geopolitical issues.”

LUSU apology

The Liberation Officers were not consulted in the formulation of the statement

The Liberation Officers who work for the Student Union – the Racial and Ethnic Minority, LGBTQ+, Womens+, International and PG & Mature Students Officers – were not consulted in the formulation of the statement, on its removal, or about the apology which was posted on the 27th. This is a highly irregular move given the roles of the Liberation Officers is directly representing student body diversity and inclusivity.

Max Kafula, the Racial and Ethnic Minority Officer, posted on Facebook that he did not support the apology and was unhappy with being left out of the crafting of the original message, though he unequivocally reiterated his support of Palestinian students and their plight.

Lancaster SU Part-Time officers released a statement on Facebook which stated: “The LCO Team would like to clarify that we were not consulted about the statement that was accidentally posted earlier today about Palestinian solidarity. We have been in conversation about a statement on this issue all week and wanted to get to sign off a statement that unequivocally supports Palestinian students whilst condemning antisemitism. This is not an opportunity we were given neither did we get a say on its retraction.

“We hope that this solidarity still shines through in the updated statement that will be going out, whilst also making sure our Jewish students are supported.
As an LCO Team, we are committed to the liberation and support of marginalised students, and a welfare resource we have put together is coming from us imminently.”

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