Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign will protest on Wednesday 4th October against the censoring of Holocaust survivor Marika Sherwood’s event ‘You’re doing to Palestinians what the Nazis did to me’
The event had been organised by the University of Manchester’s student committee of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign as part of ‘Israel Apartheid Week’. As The Guardian reported, Marika Sherwood was scheduled to present a talk on Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. A Jewish survivor of the Holocaust, confined to the notorious Budapest ghetto during the latter stages of the war, she was due to give a talk headlined: “You’re doing to the Palestinians what the Nazis did to me.”
However, after visits by Mark Regev, the Israeli ambassador to the UK, accompanied by his civil affairs attaché, university officials have censored the title of the talk, calling it “unduly provocative” and have “set out a range of conditions before it could go ahead.”
The enforced conditions saw academics chosen to chair the meetings being replaced by university appointees, limitations on publicity, as well as organisers being told talks would be recorded.
Huda Ammori, who leads the student BDS campaign, said to The Guardian: “In educational institutions, there shouldn’t be any sort of lobbying from foreign governments. You couldn’t imagine them sitting down with the Saudi embassy for an event about what’s going on in Yemen.” A spokesman for the Isreali embassy, however, denied the meetings were a form of lobbying.
Marika Sherwood defended the title saying “I was just speaking of my experience of what the Nazis were doing to me as a Jewish child,”
“I can’t say I’m a Palestinian, but my experiences as a child are not dissimilar to what Palestinian children are experiencing now.”
Huda Ammori told The Mancunion “meetings with the Israeli embassy over a campaign in support of Palestinian human rights is a mockery of the suffering Palestinians have faced under Israel’s apartheid regime and violates all ‘social responsibility’ ethics preached by the University of Manchester.”
“Our campaign demands the university end all ties to Israel’s apartheid regime, which includes their investments in companies such as Caterpillar.” She alleged that Caterpillar supplies armoured bulldozers to the Israeli regime.
As part of a campaign for the upcoming protest, Huda Ammori levelled allegations at the Isreali government: “Israel has continued an apartheid regime by systematically ethnically cleansing Palestinians. […] Israel continues to commit war crimes, which also include the constant demolition of Palestinian homes within Palestinian territory, to expand their illegal Israeli settlements.”
Students were asked about the BDS campaign in a recent survey conducted by The Mancunion. Those in support agreed it was an important campaign raising “awareness about the repressive measures against Palestinians by the Israeli government and military.” One student said he believed “it is appropriate for the Students’ Union to support this peaceful protest against the occupation.”
The campaign has recently been supported by political cartoonist Carlos Latuff. He created the accompanying cartoon as a representation of the University of Manchester’s investment in Caterpillar.
On Wednesday 4th of October, BDS will be protesting during the University of Manchester’s board of governors meeting, “to demand that the University and all links with Israel’s war crimes including divestment from companies that are complicit in human rights abuses.”
They will be meeting at 2:30 pm on Wednesday the 4th of October under the main arch of council chambers. They ask students to “stand for justice and join us at the #ApartheidOffCampus protest.”