Professor Moshe Machover, who teaches philosophy at the University of London has been exposed voicing support for Hamas, a genocidal antisemitic terrorist organisation which is proscribed under the Terrorism Act. He also accused Jewish students of being under the control of the Israeli embassy.
During a panel event at Queen Mary University of London Friends of Palestine Society, which was recorded by blogger David Collier and reported by Cub Magazine, he said: “I’m not opposing their [Hamas’] armed struggle — they have a perfect right to resist with arms. I don’t condemn them. Who is responsible for the rise of Hamas in the Gaza strip? Israel. The most successful struggle was low level violence, popular mobilisation and kids throwing stones. In occupied Lebanon, Hizballah was using armed struggle very successfully, but in the case of Hamas their tactics aren’t very useful.” Machover appears to be complaining that terrorism by Hamas is not as effective as terrorism by Hizballah.
When asked by an audience member if “Israel had a right to exist” he replied “certainly not”. When challenged by a Jewish student, he retorted: “These are the kind of questions that the Israeli propaganda machine actually briefs its representatives to ask?…I know what briefing you get. I have been in this game before you were born, and I know what briefing you get. You always use the same formulations because you are singing from the same sheet of briefing. Long experience, it is a long experience that leads me because I know what Shai Masot [an Israeli embassy official included in an Al Jazeera film we have reported to Ofcom] is up to.” Under the International Definition of Antisemitism recently adopted by the British government, denying Israel’s right to exist and accusing Jews of being part of a conspiracy is antisemitic.
Queen Mary University of London told Cub Magazine: “We have a clear Code of Practice on Freedom of Speech within the law, and all events that take place on our premises are subject to security checks. Once these conditions are met, we believe that our students are able to judge for themselves the merits or otherwise of opinions put forward and views debated.” The Friends of Palestine Society also issued an apology for the “resentful ideologies” that were expressed.
That is just not good enough. Universities have an obligation under the government’s Prevent counter-extremism strategy to ensure that speakers do not come onto their campuses to spread messages in support terrorism or hatred. Universities are obliged to stop such speakers from speaking on their campuses, not to leave students to “judge for themselves”.
Campaign Against Antisemitism has now written to Queen Mary University of London to ascertain why Professor Machover was allowed to speak and lodge a complaint, and have additionally written to King’s College London and the London School of Economics to ascertain his employment status, and request that disciplinary proceedings be instigated.