A shrill scene occurred last week at the National University of Ireland (NUI) whose students were set to vote on a motion to boycott Israel. Students voted in favor of the boycott, which is not binding on the university, but not before they saw a fellow student wildly shouting and cursing in an effort to silence a speaker presenting an opposing opinion to his.
“You f***ing Zionist f***ing pricks. Get the f*** out,” shouted the student at the Wednesday event.
His supporters applauded enthusiastically to his outburst.
As the speaker was at the podium, the pro-Palestinian student stood, gesticulated, wielded numerous F-bombs as he shouted various combinations of: “Get the f*** off our campus now!” and “Get off the f***ing campus!”
It’s unclear if it was him or another protester who dealt another remark which could be viewed as an anti-Semitic slur. “We don’t want you and your Israeli money about here,” a male voice could be heard on the video that was posted on YouTube by the group Irish4Israel (Warning: offensive language):
Along with the video, the pro-Israel group posted this note on YouTube, “Watch these BDS bullies try to break up an anti-boycott meeting on the campus of National University of Ireland Galway, 5 March 2014. Disgraceful, but typical. Defend free speech on campus!”
BDS refers to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.
The pro-Israel group reported that the man the shouter was trying to silence was Professor Alan Johnson, who edits the pro-“two states for two peoples” journal “Fathom: for a deeper understanding of Israel and the region.”
“The anti-Israel fanatic shouting vile abuse, threatening the students, and trying to break up the meeting is Joseph Loughnane,” Irish4Israel wrote.
Irish4Israel posted on its Facebook page that Loughnane – the one with the fondness for the F-word - is running for Vice President of the Union of Students of Ireland for the Border, Midlands and Western Region. Irish4Israel also linked to a synopsis of an event at the university’s Literary and Debating Society at which Loughnane spoke, revealing undertones of anti-Semitism in addition to his anti-Israel stance.
“He said how Israel was created as a Western outpost in a region un-brainwashed by American interests. He told us how ultimately it was the Jews that stole the land, and so they are to blame. Joseph also said how the Jews run the American media and push their agenda, and that ultimately, the West uses and controls Israel as a tool for keeping the Middle East in line,” the summary of the 2008 event read.
“The ugly face of BDS often is just below the surface, but this time it surfaced,” noted William Jacobson, a Cornell University law professor who also writes the blog Legal Insurrection.
Jacobson, who closely tracks the efforts at boycotting Israel in American universities wrote of the Ireland event, “It’s the same face of the anti-Israel academic boycotters on campuses in the U.S. who wrap themselves in propaganda about Israel being an Apartheid state, ethnic cleansers, and uniquely and solely worthy of boycott.”
“Look at the hate in that man’s eyes, then read this letter just issued by dozens of Vassar faculty members in support of the academic boycott of Israel. I see no difference between the two, the guy in the video is just more open and honest about how he feels,” Jacobson added.
Legal Insurrection obtained a statement on Sunday from NUI Galway press and information officer Tomás Ó Síocháin calling the display “unacceptable.”
“The University has a pluralist ethos and all societies have the freedom to both express and communicate those views to students and staff. They must, however, act within the law and in accordance with the University’s code of conduct,” the statement read.
“The behavior portrayed is unacceptable and has no place at any forum of discussion or debate. This matter will be investigated immediately,” the university said.
“NUI Galway has a long and proud tradition of welcoming visitors and guests to the University’s campus, to both engage in and observe robust debate. The University will take steps to ensure that this remains the case and that all speakers are given the dignity and respect they deserve,” it added.
This story has been updated with the university statement.
(H/T: Legal Insurrection)