University of Central Lancashire has cancelled an ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ event in response to a campaign by pro-Israel supporters.

Christians United for Israel (CUFI) in partnership with Israel Britain Alliance (IBA) urged universities not to allow campuses to host the so-called Israel Apartheid Week, an event based on false and inflammatory propaganda against Israel which many students across the country will be participating in.

In a statement, the University of Central Lancashire responded directly to the IBA campaign, saying, “We take seriously our responsibility to provide a safe and welcoming environment for all. As such, we have in place procedures to ensure that free, open and lawful debate is promoted and in this instance, our assessment has concluded that the proposed event cannot proceed as planned.”

The university had planned to host Islamic theologian Farid Esack, who has been accused of antisemitism, promoting BDS and fund-raising for the PFLP terrorist group. However, he is still expected to speak at Kings College, University of Manchester and University of Sussex next week.

The campaign by CUFI and other partners warned universities that not only is the so-called Israel Apartheid Week offensive and anti-Semitic, but universities also break the law by hosting it.  This is because Universities in Britain and Northern Ireland have a legal duty to foster good relations between students of different nationalities, ethnic groups and/or religious beliefs. Israeli students are protected as a nationality and Jewish students are protected as an ethnic group, irrespective of their religious beliefs. To comply with this important duty universities must refuse to allow university property to display false propaganda that includes the phrase “Israel Apartheid Week”.

Farid Esack, who will no longer be speaking at University of Central Lancashire, gained notoriety after the Paris terror attacks when he declared that he “would not pray for Paris” and that the attacks were a case of the “chickens coming home to roost”.  He then appeared to blame the victims for the attacks.

Esack is no stranger to backing terrorists. In 2015, he hosted convicted plane hijacker and member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine politburo Leila Khalid. Esack even went as far as hosting a fundraising dinner with Khalid who still calls for violent attacks against Israelis.

Esack refused to condemn the singing of “shoot the Jew” at a Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) rally in South Africa and his organisation regularly compares Israel to the Nazis and has been accused of anti-Semitism by the Jewish Community in South Africa on multiple occasions.

He was barred from speaking at the Paris-Sorbonne University last year but is being given not one, but three platforms in the UK next week.

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