Socialist Students statement
Tory education secretary Gillian Keegan has called on universities to clamp down on students and student societies seen to express support for Hamas, the party that has positioned itself as leading the resistance to the blockade and occupation in Gaza.
This follows the statement by Tory home secretary Suella Braverman to police chiefs that public flying of the Palestinian flag “may not be legitimate”, calling on police officers to use “the full force of the law” against shows of support for Hamas.
Socialist Students defends the right of students to discuss and debate the way forward for Palestinian liberation, without fear of punishment or surveillance. We do not think that a Hamas-led military offensive can be a substitute for the mass struggle of the Palestinians, under their own democratic control, which is necessary to end their oppression. But we think that students should have the right to discuss this question and others.
Why is it acceptable, meanwhile, for pro-capitalist politicians to express support for the Israeli government, which has killed thousands of people in Gaza, in the last weeks, using methods of mass military terror, and has cut off the supply of water, fuel, power, food and medicine to millions of people? The hypocrisy is nauseating.
These are hypocritical and divisive moves by the Tories, designed to suppress criticism of the Israeli state, including its vicious oppression of Palestinians.
Already there have been thousands killed in horrific circumstances on both sides of the border in the last weeks. Socialist Students gives no support to the killing of Israeli civilians. But we must also be clear on the root cause of this bloodshed: the brutal occupation and oppression of Palestinians over generations.
Over two million Palestinians are trapped in the poverty-stricken Gaza strip, suffering regular raids and killings by Israeli forces. They live at the mercy of an Israeli state, with one of the strongest military apparatuses in the world, with the most reactionary government in its history.
We support the right of the Palestinian masses to defend themselves against the brutal onslaught they face, and to struggle for Palestinian liberation. We say that this struggle must be linked to the struggle for socialist change within Palestine, Israel and across the Middle East.
Socialist Students will continue to hold meetings in universities around the UK, putting forward what organisation, programme and tactics are really needed to end the exploitation and oppression of the Palestinians, and to fight for socialism in Palestine, Israel and internationally.