Anti-Israel academics: the world’s least convincing free-speech warriors

Another week, another act of political censorship at a British university. This time the victim of the insidious campus culture of clamping down on anything provocative is an anti-Israel conference that was due to take place at Southampton University next month. Designed to question the ‘legitimacy in international law of the Jewish state of Israel’ – that is, the right of Israel to exist – the conference provoked disquiet among Israel supporters. A petition slamming the conference as one-sided and prejudiced, started by the Zionist Federation, garnered 6,500 signatures. The Jewish Board of Deputies and various MPs, including communities secretary Eric Pickles, opposed the conference. And so Southampton Uni has now reportedly told the organisers that it cannot go ahead, and it did so in what is now the favoured sly lingo of every campus censor who wants to shut down allegedly shocking things – it said the conference raised ‘health and safety’ concerns. Once, things were silenced to protect our moral sensitivities; now, stuff is censored to protect our health and safety.

h/t Marvin

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