JNS.org – King’s College London has canceled a May 19 lecture intended to glorify a Holocaust denier in response to pressure from pro-Israel students.
The event was organized by the pro-Hamas publication Middle East Monitor Online (MEMO) to honor the late Egyptian Holocaust denier, Abdelwahab Elmessiri, and was going to feature speaker Azzam Tamimi, who is reported to be Hamas’s “special envoy to the UK.”
Elmessiri led the opposition organization Kefaya in Egypt until he died in 2008. In his book, Zionism, Nazism and the End of History, he wrote that far fewer than 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. “The Nazis desperately needed workers, why would the war machine waste its time destroying millions instead of using them as slave labourers?” he wrote.
In addition to his involvement with Hamas, Tamimi, the event’s guest speaker, was the director of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought, a leading Muslim Brotherhood organization. He is known for using glorified rhetoric when speaking about Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad. In 2004, he told the BBC that if he “had the opportunity,” he would become a suicide bomber in a “noble cause” for Palestine.
Members of the King’s College London Students’ Union Israel Society wrote a letter about the event that said “holding the lecture will damage the College’s reputation and international standing, as well as giving succour to hard-line fanatics who desperately want to see nothing short of the destruction of the state of Israel.”
“We feel that, whilst the College has a duty to uphold free speech, this constitutes incitement, and thus a vitiation of the well-being of our Jewish, Israeli and Zionist students at King’s. We urge you to refuse to host this lecture,” they wrote.
Despite its cancelation at King’s College, the same MEMO lecture will be held at the Senate House, a conference venue owned by the University of London.
”There is no defense for hosting an event glorifying a well-known Holocaust denier, and it is extremely troubling that the University of London would welcome such a person,” said Jonathan Hunter, UK campus coordinator for the pro-Israel group StandWithUs, in a statement.