The University of Central Lancashire has cancelled an event which was due to take place as part of “Israel Apartheid Week” activity on its campus.
The session was organised by the university’s Friends of Palestine group and was billed as a panel discussion looking at the boycott of Israel. It was due to feature speakers including anti-Israel activist Ben White and pro-Palestinian academics.
But a spokesperson for the university said “Debunking Misconceptions on Palestine” contravened the definition of antisemitism adopted by the government and was “unlawful”.
In a statement on behalf of the university in Preston, Lancashire, the spokesperson said: “The UK government has formally adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s new definition of what constitutes antisemitism.
“We believe the proposed talk contravenes the new definition and furthermore breaches university protocols for such events, where we require assurances of a balanced view or a panel of speakers representing all interests.”
He added: “In this instance our procedures determined that the proposed event would not be lawful and therefore it will not proceed as planned.”
The talk was scheduled to take place as part of a week of anti-Israel events expected to be held at universities nationwide.
The North West Friends of Israel group welcomed the move. Co-chair Raphi Bloom said NWFoI had led a campaign to ban the event.
“Universities across the UK have signed up to the government’s definition of antisemitism and have a duty of care to their Jewish students – and staff – to ensure that they do not feel intimidated or abused on campus,” he said.