England (QNN)- Warwick University students established a solidarity group that they called “Warwick Occupy” following protests against a pro-Israel event on Tuesday, in which a former Israeli colonel spoke in the same week that 35 Palestinians in Gaza have been massacred by the Israeli forces.
The group said it will occupy the sabbatical officers’ room in the Students’ Union (SU) at the University of Warwick in response to the SU position supporting occupation.
“Since the SU clearly support occupations, we have decided to occupy the SU. We are a group of students and staff in occupation of two rooms of the Students’ Union HQ building. We ask for your support and solidarity in this protest, and encourage you to come down to the SUHQ to get involved”, said the group in a statement.
Warwick Occupy consists of students from Warwick Friends of Palestine (FoP), Anti-Racism (WARSoc), Anti-Sexism (WASS), Pride, Labour, Arabic Society and Warwick For Free Education (WFFE), all of which signed the statement published on Facebook.
On Tuesday, Warwick Jewish Israeli Society (JISoc) hosted former IOF Colonel Eyal Dror to speak on campus. The SU’s Ethnic Minorities Officer Taj Ali led a protest outside the room where the talk was held, which was eventually moved to another venue.
The statement explained the protest was held against the IOF’s “routine brutalisation” of Palestinians backed by United Nations. In a Facebook post, Warwick JISoc said the talk was on “how nearly 700 humanitarian operations on the Israeli-Syrian border saved thousands of civilian lives”.
Highlighting the “importance of well-being for all ethnic and religious minority students and staff”, Warwick Occupy said: “We must reiterate that we strongly oppose anti-Semitism in all its forms, and the nature of this protest is inherently anti-racist. We do not conflate criticism of the Israeli state with criticism of Jewish or Israeli people.”
Furthermore, the organisation stands “against the presence of organisations on campus that directly endanger the wellbeing of marginalised students”, and the protest intends to “provide a space for those under military occupation to speak openly about the issues which affect their communities”.
The statement adds that the talk is “especially damaging” amid Islamophobia Awareness Month, and wrote: “Instead of drawing attention to this issue, the University are (sic) directly jeopardising the welfare of Muslim, Arab and Palestinian students.
“The external speaker review process has clearly failed, and the health and safety of vulnerable students has been ignored, despite complaints having been lodged upon the event being announced.”
Sources: Warwick Occupy, The Boar