Masked demonstrators trying to disrupt a campus talk by an Israeli ambassador were told not to “interact with Zionists” in a divisive guide to protesting.
Around 300 anti-Israel campaigners gathered at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies on Thursday evening to protest a talk by Mark Regev, Israel’s ambassador to the UK.
Instructions handed out to protesters – who were met by around 50 pro-Israel demonstrators – advised them to cover their faces and not try to speak to their ideological opponents – or, indeed, to anybody:
A bullet-point list distributed among the crowds said: “Don’t talk to cops, Don’t talk to media, Don’t interact with Zionists”.
This is the current view outside SOAS as pro-Palestine protestors gather to oppose Mark Regev speaking at the university pic.twitter.com/XxNKg1AJjK
— Osha Al-Moss (@Osha001) April 27, 2017
Another sheet said “get to know the people around you” – advice that seemingly only applied if you know and agree with their politics.
Other images from the protest show that the pro-Palestine group hurled red paint on an Israeli flag carried at the event, making it look as if it was drenched in blood.
They did not, however, stop Regev from addressing the university’s Jewish society inside the building:
— Mark Regev (@AmbMarkRegev) April 27, 2017
SOAS has a revolutionary reputation, and has played host to some of the UK’s most bizarre campus politics – including proposals to ban white philosophers from the curriculum, and a campaign claiming the university employs too many white male academics.
Events linked with Israel have long been a flashpoint in UK campus politics, and attract larger crowds of protesters than almost any other issue.
Last year Heat Street reported how a talk by a former Israeli soldier on the peace process at nearby University College London turned sour.
Screaming pro-Palestine demonstrators barricaded the audience inside a building until the police escorted them out, and allegedly attacked one attendee.
Many Jewish students in Britain have reported feeling threatened on campus – and SOAS was named last year as a particularly hostile location.