MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY censored a speech by a Holocaust survivor after Israeli officials decided it was “anti-semitic hate speech,” freedom of information requests have revealed.
Marika Sherwood, a Jewish survivor of the Budapest ghetto, was due to give a talk at Manchester University in March this year about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians — titled You’re Doing to the Palestinians What the Nazis Did to Me — until the embassy stepped in.
She was booked as part of Israeli Apartheid Week, organised by a student committee of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign.
Israeli diplomats visited the university in February and embassy counsellor for civil society affairs Michael Freeman then wrote to Tim Westlake, the university’s head of student experience.
Mr Freeman said the talk breached the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-semitism and branded the Israeli Apartheid Week event “offensively titled.”
He said: “We feel that this is not legitimate criticism but has rather crossed the line into hate speech.”
A university official then told event organiser Huda Ammori that the title was not permitted because of its “unduly provocative nature.”
The speech was allowed to go ahead under a new title under condition that it was filmed and academics chosen to chair talks during the week were replaced with university appointees.
Ms Sherwood said: “I was just speaking of my experience of what the nazis were doing to me as a Jewish child.
“I would have died were it not for the Christians who baptised us and shared papers with us to save us.
“My experiences as a child are not dissimilar to what Palestinian children are experiencing now.”