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Over 30 King’s Student Groups Sign Open Letter of Palestinian Solidarity

London March for Palestine, original photojournalism by Shaheena Uddin

An open letter entitled “Joint Statement of Solidarity with Palestinians and against the apartheid state of Israel by KCL Student Societies” has been signed by over 30 student groups, addressed to senior leadership at King’s.

The letter was penned by the KCL Islamic Society and KCL Students for Justice for Palestine. Addressed to King’s College London’s interim president and principal Evelyn Welch, the letter states: “We are a coalition of Students, Staff, Student Societies and Campaigns at King’s College London (KCL), who stand in solidarity with the Palestinians in their plight under occupation and apartheid at the hands of the state of Israel and condemn the latest escalations of violence on Palestinians.”

The groups also reference the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s “Complicity Database”, wherein King’s is alleged to have indirectly invested £5,237,074 in companies which directly and indirectly fund the Israeli government. According to the undersigned student groups, “It is unacceptable that KCL is profiting off of war crimes – and using our tuition fees to do so.”

Undersigned groups listed three demands for commitments from King’s and its current leadership. The first is “divestment from companies complicit in sustaining the Israeli apartheid regime’s human rights abuses”, citing the University of Manchester as an example. The groups’ second demand is the institution of “an academic boycott against the apartheid regime of Israel by refusing collaboration and academic exchanges with universities implicated in Israel’s violations of international law”, specifically referencing the Herzliya Institute in Israel. Their final demand is that King’s “defend students’ rights to speak up, protest and organise around political issues including Palestine, without being sanctioned, arbitrarily disciplined or censored by the university – as has previously occurred”.

The statement concludes: “We urge KCL to take a firm stand with us and show their solidarity by acting upon the demands above to hold this institution accountable for its unethical investments and the funding that has sustained the ethnic cleansing, settler colonialism, apartheid and infringement of basic human rights of Palestinians by the Israeli regime. […] As students and staff we will continue to strive in protecting the safety and welfare of all our communities on campus. In doing so, we must ensure to always speak out against injustice and call on KCL to do the same.”

In a statement, KCL Students for Justice for Palestine told Roar: “Our purpose is to campaign to end our own institution’s complicity in the illegal occupation of Palestine, serve as a platform for students to learn about social justice, and to educate the wider community about the situation in Palestine”, emphasising their role as one member of a broad student society network: “We should all be united for freedom, justice, equality and an end to apartheid.” As the movement’s fellow head organisation, the KCL Islamic Society, told Roar in a follow-up: “[KCL’s investments are] both unethical and display KCL’s stance with the destructive actions of the state of Israel. We believe that there’s a lot of strength in unity.”

KCL Intersectional Feminist Society, one of the student groups who have signed the open letter, told Roar they signed the joint letter for similar reasons: “We truly are appalled at the ongoing human rights violations occurring in Palestine at the hands of the Israeli military. The open letter aligned with our society’s ethos. […] We believe that King’s investment in support of an illegal occupation which partakes in oppression is truly unacceptable.”

Another undersigned group, the KCL Indian Political Society, echoed this sentiment: “We believe that this aggression and systemic violence against Palestine must stop now. Signing this statement and urging the university to take a stand will take us one step closer to our goal.”

This joint letter comes after King’s administration and the KCLSU Student Officers team posted individual statements regarding the ongoing conflict. The King’s College London branch of the University and College Union also passed a motion of no-confidence King’s Chairman Lord Geidt at their May 19 general meeting, demanding “his immediate resignation from this role”.

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Previously Editor-in-Chief of Roar News. Best Interview, SPANC 2022. Classics with English BA student, graduating Summer 2022. Perpetually caffeinated.

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