Hundreds of Warwick students are calling for an Israeli Defence Force speaker event to be cancelled

233 students and academics have signed the statement to stop the event going ahead


Hundreds of students and staff members have signed a statement calling for Warwick University to cancel an event where a former colonel from the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) is set to speak.

Eyal Dror, a former Lieutenant Colonel who established the IDF's Humanitarian Aid Unit, is set to speak at the event 'Embracing the Enemy: Intervening in Syria to Save Lives' tomorrow afternoon.

However, Taj Ali, Ethnic Minorities Officer at Warwick Students' Union, has released a statement with 233 signatories denouncing the University's decision to accept the speaker on campus.

The statement claims that this is a "shameful and embarrassing position" for the University to be taking because of the risk it holds for Palestinian students.

Concern has been raised over the welfare of Palestinian students, "who have repeatedly been harassed and targeted by the IDF" and that Warwick University hasn't "taken necessary precautionary steps to ensure the protection of Muslim and racially marginalised communities in relation to this event."

The former Israeli Colonel is known for commanding 'Operation Good Neighbour' which led to "nearly 700 humanitarian operations on the Israeli-Syrian border," according to the event description.

However students, staff and numerous SU Officers are calling for the University to cancel the event and for Warwick SU to "take action."

Becca Brown, Environment and Ethics Officer, Tara Kosky and Bede Pharoah-Lunn, Women's Officers, and Nathan Parsons, Disabled Students’ Officer, are among the signatories.

Presidents and Executives from various Warwick societies have also signed the statement, including the Presidents of Warwick Anti-Racism, Anti-Sexism, Friends of Palestine, and Labour Societies.

The event is hosted by Warwick Jewish- Israeli Society and is supported by StandWithUs UK, which is an educational pro-Israel organisation.

Taj Ali's statement reads: "In the same week that over 34 Palestinians have been massacred by the Israel defence forces (IDF) , Warwick University has chosen to allow a colonel from that same force to speak on campus.

"The welfare of Palestinian students, who have repeatedly been harassed and targeted by the IDF, has not been considered by the University.

"This is a shameful and embarrassing position for Warwick University to be taking and we hope such a decision will be reconsidered in light of recent events.

"Inviting a high-ranking military colonel to speak on campus directly conflicts with the principles of the Warwick community of justice, peace and equality."

The signatories are also "deeply concerned" considering StandWithUs is an organisation "funded by various individuals linked with Islamophobic organisations" which should immediately raise "red flags."

The statement continues: "An investigation into the donors of StandWithUs found funders that support a range of organisations that have been accused of Islamophobic propaganda and encouraging militant Israeli and American intervention in the Middle East.

"There has been no structure of accountability put in place, with no attempt to account for the voices of the Palestinian people whose rights are in question."

A protest against the event, called 'No to Whitewashing Apartheid, No to Islamophobia' is set to take place at the same time as the IDF speaker event.

The Warwick Tab has reached out to the University for comment