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Posted on Sep 10, 2013

Aberystwyth University

Aberystwyth University

Aberystwyth’s ‘Friends of Palestine’ Society is fairly active, and has held events defending the terror group Hamas[1] in conjunction with Medical Aid for Palestinians, a pro-terror group whose founder, Dr Swee Ang, has said that suicide bombing is justifiable (See Stand for Peace profile here). The Society has also promoted the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions Movement[2].

Aberystwyth students have joined the radical International Solidarity Movement (ISM) in trips to the Palestinian disputed territories.[3] In a 2002 article, ISM co-founders Adam Shapiro and Huwaida Arraf wrote, “The Palestinian resistance must take on a variety of characteristics, both non-violent and violent…In actuality, nonviolence is not enough…Yes, people will get killed and injured,” but these deaths are “no less noble than carrying out a suicide operation. And we are certain that if these men were killed during such an action, they would be considered shaheed Allah.”[4] In 2008, ISM member Richard Hupper was convicted for giving about $20,000 to Hamas while working in Israel with the International Solidarity Movement.”[5]

Aberystwyth is a popular holiday destination for Orthodox Jews, many of whom stay at the University of Aberystwyth during their visit. In 2009, swastikas were painted on grass and on sheets of paper scattered near the student halls were the visitors stayed[6]. In 2013, the University banned Jewish visitors from lighting candles as part of their Shabbat meal. The ban has cost the town £100,000 in lost tourist revenue[7].

In 2013, the University’s Arts Centre hosted Gilad Atzmon[8], the jazz musician described by anti-racism group Hope not Hate as “anti-Semitic” and a “supporter of Holocaust denial.” Atzmon has claimed that burning down synagogues is a “rational act” and that “Hitler might have been right after all”.[9]

Jeroen Gunning, deputy director of the Centre for the Study of ‘Radicalisation’ and Contemporary Political Violence at Aberyswyth University from 2005-2010, is an outspoken apologist for the terror group Hamas. Jonathan Schanzer, reviewing Gunning’s book ‘Hamas in Politics’, notes:

“Gunning apologizes for Hamas, starting with his repetitious use of ‘resistance’ instead of “terrorism” when referring to attacks on Israeli civilians or his repeated insistence that “political conditions” imposed by Israel drove Hamas to suicide bombings and rocket attacks. Gunning expends the entirety of his chapter on “Hamas’ Political Philosophy” trying to explain away the group’s xenophobic and violent political philosophy through the works of John Locke, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Isaiah Berlin, and Pierre Bourdie. A delusional Gunning claims that these great thinkers ‘have all helped to sharpen our understanding of Hamas.’ Need one point out that it strains credulity to assert that Hamas had these philosophers in mind when drafting its 1988 charter, which states that there is “no solution for the Palestinian question except through jihad”?[10]

Similarly, a review in the Washington Times declared: “While passable as a doctoral dissertation – from which it originated – it fails as a published book because Mr. Gunning’s overt sympathies for Hamas thoroughly distort his analysis of the subject.”[11]

In 2005, a student at Aberystwyth’s International Politics Department wrote that:

“Certain members of the academic staff hold some quite frankly offensive views. During a recent series of lectures about terrorism, the lecturer gave an admirably balanced assessment of most of the terrorist groups and their activities around the world. Then came the ‘Middle East Conflict’. He began by handing out photocopied pieces of his own published work that sought to claim that the myriad terrorist groups operating in Israel and Palestine were necessary to prevent ‘Israeli genocide’. He then went on to inform us that during the course of his research he had met and interviewed numerous members of Hamas and Hezbollah, and that he counted some of these men as ‘close personal friends’ and had invited one of them to his native Holland.”[12]

In 2008, another student from the same department claimed that students studying the ‘Understanding Terror: Perspectives on Terrorism’ module were being forced, on pain of being marked down, to reproduce distorted and bigoted opinions about the state of Israel. He revealed:

“I am a student studying the module ‘Understanding Terror: Perspectives on Terrorism’ in the department of International Politics at Aberystwyth University. A notable statement made in a lecture which I did attend was an implicit comparison between the treatment of Jews in Germany prior to the Shoah of World War Two, and that of Muslims today.”[13]

In the same year, a university lecturer, Dr Richard Jackson, claimed that, “Palestinian terrorism receives a disproportionate amount of attention in the literature compared to Israeli state terrorism.”[14]

 



[6] Orthodox Jews’ annual getaway to Aberystwyth falls foul of health and safety, Sam Masters, The Independent, 29 May 2013

[7] Ban on candles ‘has cost seaside town £100K’ as Hasidic Jews go elsewhere, Rosa Silverman, Daily Telegraph, 8 August 2013

[11] BOOK REVIEW: Radical Islam’s architect and Hamas, Joshua Sinai, Washington Times, 25 August 2010

 

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