The following press release was issued by the London School of Economics Student Union Palestine Society on 26 October 2009:
Students protested and disrupted a lecture tonight at the London School of Economics (LSE) by Daniel Ayalon, the controversial Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel.
More than 50 students and activists greeted Ayalon outside of the lecture on LSE’s campus with placards and banners, while inside audience members heckled the controversial minister as a “racist” and “murderer” in relation to the illegal occupation and violence carried out by the Israeli state.
Ayalon was in the UK to meet British government officials and speaking at the LSE ahead of these talks in a lecture titled “The Middle East: The View From Israel.” Security at the university was tight, with private security and police officers keeping a close watch on protesters. The minister began and ended his lecture amid boos and chants of “Free, Free, Palestine” while his speech was interrupted relentlessly throughout with audience members questioning Israel’s atrocities.
The action was organized by the LSE Students’ Union Palestine Society and the Palestine Solidarity Initiative. The London School of Economics Students’ Union is officially twinned with An-Najah University [West Bank] 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.
Mira Hammad 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.”