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As a Cambridge student, I appeal to my university to act against anti-Israel protests

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Published Time: 11.05.2024 - 21:40:15 Modified Time: 11.05.2024 - 21:40:15

No one can remain impartial and silent about the right of existence of a sovereign state Shutterstock/Penelope Barritt I am a third-year undergraduate student at Cambridge, and have been following the activities of a small number of my fellow students currently occupying the lawn outside King’s College and the official response of the university

No one can remain impartial and silent about the right of existence of a sovereign state

: Shutterstock/Penelope Barritt

I am a third-year undergraduate student at Cambridge, and have been following the activities of a small number of my fellow students currently occupying the lawn outside King’s College and the official response of the university. I am writing to say that I am appalled by the response that the university has offered.

Freedom of speech is critical to the wellbeing of any university. There must be space for us to express our views, disagree, and engage in dialogue to enrich our own understanding of the world. Yet what this does not mean is that this university may remain impartial and silent about the right of existence of a sovereign state, and the right of its inhabitants to have exactly the same rights as other sovereign peoples around the world: their own self-determination.

The protesters in front of King’s College are openly calling for the destruction of the state of Israel. Their placards that are currently emblazoned around their encampment and calling for a “Free Palestine from the river to the sea”. The protesters know exactly what this means. It means that in their view a Jewish state should not exist. It means that the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea should not be home to the 7.2 million Jews who live there (as well as the two million Israeli Arabs, and the half-a-million Christians and others – groups that consistently respond at a rate of about 70 per cent to independent polls saying they support the Israeli state). 

A Palestine “from the river to the sea” means no Israel, no Israelis, and no security for Jews in the Middle East. Where do the protesters propose the Jews and Israelis go if a Palestinian state were to exist from the river to the sea?

Freedom of speech must be

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