After a string of shocking anti-Israel comments and posters call for violence, a Marxist society at a Russell Group university has been suspended and faces being disbanded.
While openly supporting terrorist group Hamas, the phrase “the fight for a free Palestine” was written on posters and stuck to tree trunks all over campus, next to a picture of a soldier pointing a gun at someone holding a Palestinian flag.
In response to a stark rise in anti-Semitic events following the recent terrorist attacks that saw a large number of innocent Israelis killed or taken hostage, the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) branded the society’s activities a “thinly veiled call for violence” that “celebrates and promotes the murderous actions of the proscribed terrorist group Hamas” and demanded that institutions take appropriate measures.
UCL students’ union has now suspended its Marxist group, which could lead to it being shut down.
A spokesman said: “We took immediate action to suspend the Marxist Society after the group refused to remove advertising material that we deemed had the potential to be construed as inciting violence.
“The suspension stops the Marxist Society’s access to facilities, funding, and support from the Union whilst an investigation is carried out. The investigation could result in disciplinary action and disaffiliation.”
It was one of eight Marxist, communist or Palestinian societies at British universities to have published the “intifada till victory” slogan since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct 7, leaving more than 1,400 people dead.
Gillian Keegan, the Education Secretary, said on Tuesday that universities should report pro-Hamas displays to the police, adding that “support for them is a criminal act facing up to 14 years in prison”.
Thirty-six anti-Semitic incidents were recorded on campuses in the nine days after the war broke out, up to Oct 16, figures from the Community Security Trust (CST) show.
In comparison, the Jewish charity logged 17 university-related incidents in the first six months of this year.
The events in Israel and Gaza have directly influenced a spike in violent pro-Palestine protests and antisemitism, with a Jewish restaurant and a school in London being vandalised. The events have also led to acts of terrorism, including an Israeli embassy staff member being stabbed in Japan, and two innocent civilians being murdered by a Jihadist in Brussels.
The Marxist Student Federation denied that the “intifada till victory” slogans called for violence.
Fiona Lali, its president, said: “The communists on campus are resolute that we have a duty and it is our right to organise in support of Palestine. That means we want to fight our own imperialist government, which is complicit in the ongoing massacre of Palestinians.”
A UCL spokesman said: “Any form of discrimination, incitement, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, abuse, bullying or harassment, is wholly unacceptable and will not be tolerated at UCL.”