Oxford Students Rally Against Israel’s War on Gaza, Demand Divestment

United Kingdom Europe Higher Education News by Erudera News May 13, 2024

Oxford University

Hundreds of Oxford students rallied near university campuses to protest Israel’s war on Gaza. They have set up camps called “liberated zones.”

Protesters have prepared a list of demands, calling on Oxford to cut all financial ties with specific Israeli companies, change its investment policy, boycott “Israeli genocide, apartheid and occupation,” as well as to end cooperation with Barclays Bank, Erudera.com reports.

Students are also asking the university disclose its university-wide assets, including donations, grants, and investments, to support Palestinian universities financially and with material resources so they can rebuild, and to support at-risk scholars in Palestine through scholarships and academic programs.

The students said they would continue protesting until they make the school respond to their demands. On the other hand, UK universities stressed the need to take action if these protests continue to have an impact on campus life.

Previously, Oxford University expressed sympathy for people suffering in Gaza, Israel, and the West Bank and said it would work to ensure all students and staff are supported as much as possible.

The statement said the university is aware of the war’s impact on students and staff and that the latter have the right to freedom of expression in peaceful demonstrations.

“We are aware that our students and staff will be affected in different ways by humanitarian crisis and conflict. This may include needing guidance on academic matters such as extensions and mitigation, student and staff welfare and wellbeing, financial support, reporting harassment, travel and visa advice, and our policies on freedom of speech and participation in vigils and protests,” Oxford’s statement released on March 4, reads.

Over the past week, students at many UK universities joined the pro-Palestine student movement that initially began at college campuses across the US, calling for an end to Israel’s war in Gaza and for universities to cut ties with companies supporting Israel’s military actions in Gaza.

Students in cities like Manchester, Sheffield, and Newcastle pitched camps outside university buildings. Pro-Palestine camps have been seen at other universities, including Cambridge. Similarly, student protests against the war in Gaza have been reported at campuses in France, Germany, Finland, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

In Amsterdam, police clashed with protesters as they moved in to remove barricades at the University of Amsterdam. 32 people were arrested.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that protests are always allowed, but violence against police is never allowed and should be stopped.

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