Cambridge University may face legal action over mock Israeli checkpoint
By Richard Mather
Jewish Human Rights Watch is considering taking “legal remedies” against the University of Cambridge, England, after it emerged that the university had approved the construction of a mock Israeli checkpoint.
The structure comprises a metal fence and barbed wire, and is adorned with an Israeli flag. It is situated outside the entrance to one of the university’s education facilities. It is manned by anti-Israel activists dressed in camouflage (and armed with replica weapons) who force people to pass through the pseudo-military barrier.
In a letter to University of Cambridge Vice-Chancellor Leszek Borysiewicz, RHF Solicitors (which are acting on behalf of Jewish Human Rights Watch) called the structure “deliberately intimidating” and “anti-Semitic.”
The letter states: “It is clear […] that no one whatsoever has given any thought to how a Jewish person in the current climate might feel being forced to walk through such an intimidating road block on the campus. It is bad enough that over the past two years anti-Jewish incidents have risen to record levels. What makes this so much worse is that a respected institution […] should endorse such virulent anti-Semitic elements.”
Jewish Human Rights Watch is now considering “the appropriate legal remedies” to ensure a “proper sanction” is brought upon Cambridge University, says RHF Solicitors.
The mock checkpoint is a feature of the annual “Israel Apartheid Week,” which has been heavily criticised by Jewish groups, human rights activists and politicians who are concerned about the normalisation of anti-Semitism on campuses in the UK, North America and elsewhere.
In 2011, sixteen African-American members of the Vanguard Leadership Group published an open letter in several university newspapers, saying that the use of the word “apartheid” in regards to Israel “is not only false, but offensive.”
The Cambridge University Palestinian Society protested at Sidgewick site around the back of the Seeley Historical Library Monday to mark the beginning of Israeli Apartheid week. The protest lasted from 8am until approximately 4:30pm, and featured members of PalSoc, alongside other students, artists (from Cambridge based Oblique Arts and Rebel Arts) and activists. Pictures have shown a ‘fence’ with ‘barbed wire’ creating the main basis of the checkpoint, with people dressed in army attire intended to represent soldiers.
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