Board meets with Vice Chancellor of University of Southampton on Israel delegitimisation conference

March 18, 2015 - Board of Deputies - Share: Twitter Facebook

Today (18 March 2015), President of the Board Vivian Wineman and Vice-President Jonathan Arkush together with the Board’s Grassroots Consultant Steven Jaffe met with the Vice Chancellor of the University of Southampton Professor Don Nutbeam and senior university officials to discuss the upcoming conference “International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism”.

The Board, alongside other communal organisations, has expressed its concern that the conference lacks balance with a focus on delegitimising the State of Israel. According to research by the Fair Play Campaign Group, the vast majority of speakers are known anti-Israel activists.

Board President Vivian Wineman said:

“We put forward very strong concerns about this proposed conference.  It is formulated in extremist terms, has attracted toxic speakers and is likely to result in an increase in antisemitism and tension on campus.

The Vice Chancellor and his colleagues listened carefully and took on board all we said. It was clear to us that they are weighing up all the issues, including whether this controversial event fell within the university’s statutory obligation to uphold free speech within the law and its equally important legal obligation to secure the safety and security of its students and staff.

The university is reviewing its position and is considering all the options open to it.”