Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"Pro-Palestinian protestors interrupted President Shimon Peres' speech Tuesday evening at Britain's Oxford University. The angry students called Peres a "war criminal" and called for an end to the Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories." A student at Oxford sent me her impressions (I use with her permission): "I am an avid reader of your blog and I have a story for you from Oxford. Tonight, on 18th November 2008, Balliol College of Oxford University hosted Israeli President Shimon Peres in our university's most prestigious venue, the Old Sheldonian Theatre. They honoured him not only with this platform, to speak on the topic 'The Globalisation of Peace'(!), but also with the announcement that this would constitute the first in a lecture series entitled 'Peace Lectures: Inaugurated by Shimon Peres'. We, the Oxford Arab Cultural Society and the Oxford Students' Palestine Society, alongside the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and concerned members of the public, held a demonstration outside starting over an hour before the talk, and lasting - audibly - throughout Peres' speech. Some of us attended the lecture and, at intervals, nine students got up and made loud statements beginning 'I represent all the Palestinians who...' One such student was bundled out of the lecture hall. Peres was visiblyfazed by these interruptions and the sound of the protestors outside, while the audience were thus made aware of the point of view being stifled by Peres' presence today in Oxford, and every day in Palestine. Several letters of opposition have been presented to the Master of Balliol, Andrew Graham, among which was one from a prominent group of South African anti-apartheid activists (attached below). We hope that there will be publicity for this opposition, and for the events of today, as part of our ongoing protest to show that the head of the Israeli state is not welcome here..."