Messages of support

We have received (and still receiving) a numerous number of supportive email, and text messages – it would be very difficult to list all of them here- We’ve have had a huge amount of support from the student and staff at the university and the local community in Manchester!!!

Message of Solidarity from An-Najah University

Dear fellow students of Manchester University,

The Student Council of An-Najah National University extends its sincerest thanks and appreciation for the courageous and principled action you have taken in solidarity with our people in Gaza. This non-violent action to pressure the administration of your university to take a more proactive stance to condemn Israeli aggression on Gaza reminds us, as an oppressed people, that we are not alone in our fight for freedom and justice. The demands that you have articulated for the ‘occupation’ you have staged express a new level of practical solidarity with the Palestinian people in their fight against Israeli oppression. Your move demonstrates great awareness, an awareness that arose despite of media biases and unjust portrayal of the conflict. You have proven to everyone that those who seek the truth shall find the truth, no matter how misleading propaganda is, or how unjust governments are.

We are indeed inspired and comforted to know that there are such extraordinary young men and women, who believe and strive for justice, and are willing to stand in the frontlines to defend it. We highly appreciate what you are doing, and your efforts shall certainly be remembered. You have our utmost respect, and ‘inshAllah’ all of your demands will be met!

In solidarity and with a great sense of appreciation we salute you from An-Najah National University in the besieged city of Nablus.

The Student Council of An-Najah National University

A message of support from The Islamic University of Gaza

Dear fellow students of Manchester University,

We would like to express our sincere thanks and deep appreciation for all your conscious efforts, endeavours and demands to support the right to education, justice and freedom in Palestine.

We wholeheartedly support your peaceful protests against the blanket bombing of Gaza in general and the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) in particular which suffered extensive destruction and damage to all its buildings, academic facilities. Additionally more than 20,000 students, whose families have been agonizing from the suffocating siege of Gaza, have lost some members of their families and many others have lost their houses.

With great respect and admiration, we have been following all activities taking place in 19 British universities. Your brave campaign has strengthened both our hope and will that we are not alone in this just battle against unprecedented blatant injustices and flagrant violation of human rights in Palestine.

We are absolutely proud of you all and proud of your solidarity and support campaign for the right to education in Palestine which gives us bright light in the heart of the military occupation darkness.

We wish you full success in your supportive campaign and in achieving all your sensible demands which show a high level of awareness and commitment to defend basic human rights in Gaza at a time of obvious media bias and hypocrisy of many governments.

We hope to cooperate with you soon to establish mutual academic cooperation between our academic institutions. In this regard, we confirm our high interest and strong willingness to provide you with any information, facts, plans, courses, etc related to your practical demands.

In solidarity with Manchester university students in Occupation

Dr Kamalain Sha’ath
President, The Islamic University of Gaza
Tel: 970 8 282 3310
Fax: 970 8 286 3552
Website: http://www.iugaza.edu.ps/en/


Lecturers support Gaza and occupying students

Statement of support for student occupations over Gaza from members of the UCU union NEC

As members of the University and College Union National Executive Committee, we would like to send solidarity greetings to the students in the 17 universities who have occupied their universities in protest over the Gaza crisis. This is the largest wave of occupations for over a quarter of a century. Too often, the media seek to portray this generation of students as ones who do not share the aspirations of the 1968 generation – and deride you as, “Generation Apathy”. Your actions have decisively dispelled this myth.

Your demands to secure disinvestment by universities from companies involved in selling arms to Israel and free scholarships for students from Gaza show your humanity. You speak for the millions of young people throughout the world who are sick and tired of war and injustice, who simply desire a world in which the young grow up not knowing what it is like to kill and maim.

You are an inspiration to us all and we wish you every success and call upon all those who want a more peaceful world to support your action.

Message of support from Goldsmiths SU

To all our fellow students in occupation,

From South East London, we give are whole and unconditional support to
your inspiring occupation in support of Gaza. The action you are taking at
present is not just important for your university, but also to ours as
well. Since the beginning of last year we have been campaigning to get
scholarships for our twin university in Palestine, Al Quds Open
University. For so long our Warden (Vice-Chancellor) has ignored or
patronised us over this issue, but now he has called senior mangement
talks over the scholarships and circulated emails to staff on how to deal
with occupations!

So when we do finally win these scholarships (and we will) it is as much
through the efforts of your solidarity work (and the dozens of other
solidarity occupations) as it has been ours.

So, on behalf of us all, best luck and you have our full support and will
be ready to act in any way we can to support your occupation.
Long Live Palestine!

From, Goldsmiths’ Students’ Union

Support from Queen Mary’s occupation

Greetings from Queen Mary’s

Well done on your Occupation. We’ve just finised ours today (www.queenmaryoccupation.blogspot.com). On behalf of QM, I would like to give you are full support. Keep it up!
Contact us if you need any further support, and keep us updated so we can add it on our blog.

Wish you all the good luck

Tahmeena
Queen Mary Occupation

Support from Nottingham University occupation

Best of luck in your occupation and acheiving your demands! I hope that it yields a more constructive response from the university authorities to address the crisis in Gaza. I also hope that as a national student body we can maintain this momentum to achieve great things for those suffering in Palestine.

Tom.

Solidarity from Strathclyde University occupation

Congratulations on your ongoing occupation, the will of the people is on your side.
I hope our sucess at Strathclyde will drive you on and convince others that direct action can and will work..
Good luck, and be strong. Don’t take that crap from the police or the university – they are the ones who should be scared!
Ben Braidwood
Strathclyde University

A message of support from Margaret Farrell (A Mancunian grandmother living in Rome)
You have my full support for your actions. It gives me hope when I see young people who have the courage to speak up and take action while world leaders have been and continue to be accomplices to Israeli oppression of the Palestinian population. Keep up the good work. People can make a difference. Proud of you.
A Mancunian grandmother living in Rome

A message of support from Tirza Waisel

you are GREAT!

thanks for doing this action – you’re working towards a better future for all of us, and especially for Palestinians and Israelis. My family and friends in Israel (and in the Palestinian occupied territories) are opposing the occupation and protesting + working against it within Israel. They (and I) willl benefit from ending the conflict, which will hopefully be the outcome of your blessed actions.

Only the end of the Israeli occupation will bring peace and normal life to both people!

Thank you!
Tirza Waisel
London
University of Hertfordshire

A message of support from Nick, a student at Manchester Uni

The majority of Manchester University students and staff who feel for humanity are 110% behind you, as well as the people right around the world, from as far as Australia, Canada and South Africa as shown in their heartfelt testaments. History will prove us right, our actions will never be in vein (despite what the VC may think).

From Liz, a supporter via the blog

Just wanted you to know that many thousands of people all over the UK are behind you.

I’m the parent of a student elsewhere – her university has listened, and responded. I wish the same for you.

From a Nottingham student

Solidarity from Nottingham. Don’t let them kick you out!

Crystal from Montreal, Canada

Solidarity from Canada! Good luck to all of you at the Uni of Manchester. Keep the resistance alive! Power to the people! Long live Palestine! We are with you in spirit!

From Raeesa, a supporter

Solidarity from Peace Loving, post Apartheid South Africa!!!!!!!! We salute you!!! Be strong!!! Keep the resistance alive

From Tom, a supporter in Newcastle

Solidarity from Newcastle! Hang in there guys and gals! Though the university authorities may speak of sanctions and the police may threaten violence against peaceful protests, the fact remains that ideas cannot be repelled with force.

Let these occupations result in the forging of a new academic policy towards Palestine. This may be history in the making. Fortune favours the brave and the flame of justice illuminates the path of the righteous.

Good luck to all of you.

From ISM, the International Solidarity Movement

ISM London offers support and solidarity to the numerous student occupations and sit-ins around the UK in recent weeks. This response to the most recent Israeli onslaught on Gaza has been one of the most important initiatives in the movement. Generating pressure on our higher education establishments to take a stand against Israel and the war crimes it commits is vital. We stand in solidarity with the many Palestinians, students, activists, academics and members of the public who are now being more and more vocal about the boycott of Israel as a means of both exerting international pressure on the Israeli apartheid system, and standing in solidarity with the resistant Palestinian people.

7 Comments »

  1. Dear Professor Gilbert,

    We, the Manchester Green Party are writing in solidarity with the students currently occupying spaces within Manchester University. We ask that you actively pursue an open dialogue with the students in line with the ethos of Manchester University.

    Around the UK, thousands of students have occupied lecture theatres, offices and other buildings at more than 20 universities in sit-down protests. This Occupation must be considered as part of a wider picture, a movement centred on the rights of the people of Gaza who have endured terrible suffering recently at the hands of the Israeli Army. We ask that Manchester University not be complicit in that suffering.

    Universities around the country have responded constructively to student demands, and taken concrete measures to help ease the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza strip, we urge you to do the same. Among the demands of students are disinvestment in the arms trade; the promise to provide scholarships for Palestinian students and Israeli conscientious objectors; and to condemn Israeli attacks on Gaza. Manchester University, as a knowledge centre, should have no involvement with the Arms trade and should lead by example if it wants to remain credible as a place of progress and learning.

    We hereby call on the University to listen to, and answer, the growing demands for solidarity from the student body.

    Gayle O’Donovan
    Secretary
    Manchester Green Party

  2. Many thanks for your actions . Can you give your support to the EDO Decommissioners as well ? These are 9 people who broke into the Brighton based arms factory EDO MBM. They did £ 250,000 worth of damage to stop the company aiding and abetting Israel in war crimes. http://decommisioners.wordpress.com/

    Two of them are being held at HMP Lewes, 1 Brighton Rd, Lewes E. Sussex BN7 1EA Please write to them there, Elijah Smith No VP 7551 Wing A[4-20] and Robert Alford VP7552, f wing.

    Best wishes

    Nasser

  3. James Morris said

    Dear Manchester Occupants,

    Just messaging to say, good luck, I hope as many others do that your demands are met.

    Thankyou for continuing the trend of occupations that are needed at so many Unis.

    With Faith James Morris (St Andrews Occupation and SSP Fife Branch Member)

  4. Nickglais said

    Keep up the struggle – you will win

    Nickglais

  5. inquilabbi said

    Dear all,

    A letter of support that I have sent to your vice-chancellor and senior members of faculty:

    Greetings from S London PSC and CPGB-ML

    http://www.cpgb-ml.org/index.php?secName=proletarian&subName=display&art=470

    Ranjeet Brar
    ranjeet@lalkar.org
    25th February 2008

    Dear Sir,
    I write to lend my support to the courageous and selfless actions of a group of your students, who in occupying the premises of their own seat of learning have drawn attention to the plight of their fellow students and teachers – academics such as yourself, in fact – who are still suffering a brutal military occupation following the latest wave of direct military attacks upon their administrative and educational institutions. I refer, of course, to Palestine and in particular Gaza.
    Your student’s actions are particularly far sighted in view of the fact that those most directly affected live in a land thousands of miles from their own, yet they see that the perpetrators of these crimes are given succor and support by our own (Labour) government. They see also, that such crimes against humanity affect us all; that what happens to others today, if we stand aside and watch, can and will happen to us tomorrow – and then who will come to our aid?
    Your student’s actions are principled, because they understand that freedom and justice are indivisible; they recognize that a human life in the Middle East is as valuable as a human life in Britain or the US, and no propaganda can cloud their perception. What is more, your students have shown that they are prepared to sacrifice, prepared to act, and able to organize and lead.
    I too, have been appalled at the cynical manner in which Israel has used the memory of past (and abhorrent) genocide committed by the Nazis against European Slavs, Trade Unionists, Socialists, Communists, Progressives, and of course Jews, as “moral capital” to justify its own, equally abhorrent, ethnic cleansing in Palestine.
    That the latest Israeli crimes in Gaza have aroused the disgust of all with any semblance of principle, can be gauged by the fact that prominent leaders of the Jewish community, so long supporters of the Zionist project, are deserting Israel. See for example the speech of Sir Gerald Kaufmann MP, in which he declared the Israelis to be ‘Fascists’, acting toward Gaza ‘as the Nazis did toward the Warsaw Ghetto’. See also the principled letter of such Canadian academics as Michael and Osha Neumann (appended).
    That great American singer, actor, civil rights leader and working class activist Paul Robeson made a broadcast from a London rally in defense of Spain during the Spanish Civil War, in which he said, apropos the rising tide of Nazism:

    “Every artist, every scientist, must decide now where he stands. He has no alternative. There is no standing above the conflict on Olympian heights. There are no impartial observers. Through the destruction, in certain countries, of the greatest of man’s literary heritage, through the propagation of false ideas of racial and national superiority, the artist, the scientist, the writer is challenged. The struggle invades the formerly cloistered halls of our universities and other seats of learning. The battlefront is everywhere. There is no sheltered rear.”

    “And I saw, too, that the struggle for Negro [or Palestinian] rights was an inseparable part of the anti-fascist [anti-imperialist] struggle and I said:

    “The artist must elect to fight for Freedom or for Slavery. I have made my choice. I had no alternative.”

    The oppression of the Palestinians and Middle Eastern peoples (Iraq, Afghanistan) is such an issue. The same question confronts us again, and we all must choose: do we stand for slavery, or do we stand for freedom of the masses of working and oppressed people, in Palestine, the Middle East, and indeed Europe, and the wider world.
    Your students have shown their nobility of spirit in electing to fight for the freedom of the Palestinians. They have been courageous enough to act upon their conscience, and in so doing, they bring credit to your University. I hope that you will share their sense of justice, and exercise your judgment and leadership to assist them in their noble aims in whatever way you can. In particular, none of your students should face any punishment for their demonstration of solidarity, and their extremely reasonable list of aims should be met in full.
    Yours faithfully,

    Dr Ranjeet Brar BSc MBBS MRCS
    Vascular Surgical Research SpR
    St George’s University of London

    Appended – Letter of Michael and Osha Neumann:

    Feb 20, 2009
    To the President of the State of Israel and the Director of the Yad Vashem Memorial
    Remove Our Grandmother’s Name from the Wall at Yad Vashem
    By MICHAEL NEUMANN
and OSHA NEUMANN
    Following the example of Jean-Moise Braitberg, we ask that our grandmother’s name be removed from the wall at Yad Vashem. Her name is Gertrud Neumann.
    Your records state that she was born in Kattowitz on June 6, 1875 and died in Theresienstadt.
    M. Braitberg delivers his request with excellent reasons and eloquent personal testimony. His words are inspiring, but they give you – and those who stand with you – too much credit. I will instead be brief. Please take this as an expression of my disgust and contempt for your state and all it represents.
    Our grandmother was a victim of that very ideal of ethnic sovereignty in whose cause Israel has shed so much blood for so long. I was among the many Jews who thought nothing of embracing that ideal, despite the sufferings it had inflicted on our own race. It took thousands of Palestinian lives before, finally, I realized how foolish we had been.
    Our complicity was despicable. I do not believe that the Jewish people, in whose name you have committed so many crimes with such outrageous complacency, can ever rid itself of the shame you have brought upon us. Nazi propaganda, for all its calumnies, never disgraced and corrupted the Jews; you have succeeded in this. You haven’t the courage to take responsibility for your own sadistic acts: with unparalleled insolence, you set yourself up as spokesmen for an entire race, as if our very existence endorsed your conduct. And you blacken our names not only by your acts, but by the lies, the coy evasions, the smirking arrogance and the infantile self-righteousness with which you embroider our history.
    In the end, you will give the Palestinians some scrap of a state. You will never pay for your crimes and you will continue to preen yourself, to bask in your illusions of moral ascendancy. But between now and the end, you will kill and kill and kill, gaining nothing by your spoilt-brat brutality. In life, our grandmother suffered enough. Stop making her a party to this horror in her death.

    Michael Neumann
    I join my brother, Michael Neumann, in asking that any reference to our grandmother be removed from Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial.
    I have been to this memorial. Its buildings, paved courtyards and plazas spread themselves authoritatively over many landscaped acres. It frames the Holocaust as a prelude to the creation of the state of Israel. It embalms memorabilia of the death camps and preserves them as national treasures. That treasure does not belong to Israel. It is a treasure only if it serves as a reminder never to permit any nation to claim an exemption for its chosen people from the bounds of morality and decency.
    Israel has twisted the Holocaust into an excuse for perpetrating more holocausts. It has spent the treasure of the world’s sympathy for the victims of the Holocaust on a fruitless effort to shield itself from all criticism as it massacres and tortures Palestinians and suffocates them under a brutal occupation. I do not wish to have the memory of my grandmother enlisted in this misbegotten project.
    I grew up believing that Jews were that ethnic group whose historical mission was to transcend ethnicity in a united front against Fascism. To be Jewish was to be anti-Fascist. Israel long ago woke me from my dogmatic slumber about the immutable relationship of Jews to Fascists. It has engineered a merger between the image of Jewish torturers and war criminals and that of emaciated concentration camp victims. I find this merger obscene. I want no part of it. You have forfeited the right to be the custodian of my grandmother’s memory. I do not wish Yad Vashem to be her memorial.
    Osha Neumann


  6. Asma Patel said

    To the Bravehearts of Manchester Uni,

    Kepp up the fantastic work, keep up your spirits, and above all keep up your courage. Make no mistake, what you are doing takes guts, but you have shown that you are more than up for the task. Keep your nerve in the face of their intimidation and threats, and victory is yours!

    We are right behind you, so show the oppressors that the leaders of tommorrow (ie you insha’allah!) are going to keep up the fight until justice prevails!

    Asma

  7. inquilabbi said

    His Reply (presumably it will sound familiar, but it may help you in formulating your response. Best wishes!):

    Thank you for your recent email concerning the student protests.

    As you may be aware, the President and Vice-Chancellor issued a letter to those taking part in these protests on the University of Manchester campus. This letter sets out the University’s position and the underlying values and principles that inform this position. A copy is attached – apologies if you have already seen this.

    The President did offer to meet students representing those concerned about the situation in Gaza on Friday 20 February in the presence of the Students’ Union Executive, but this offer was not accepted.

    There is a standing offer for the President to meet with University of Manchester student representatives of the protestors for substantive discussions about issues relating to Gaza, so long as all protestors have ended their protest in University buildings.

    I hope that you find this helpful in explaining the University’s position.

    Yours sincerely,

    Office of the President & Vice-Chancellor
    The University of Manchester
    Oxford Road
    Manchester M13 9PL

    A NOTICE FROM THE PRESIDENT AND VICE-CHANCELLOR OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER TO STUDENT PROTESTORS

    10 February 2009

    This communication seeks to clarify the University’s position in relation to protests on the campus. To do this, let me begin by reminding you of the underlying values and principles that inform our position.

    Academic Freedom

    Our Statement on Academic Freedom, adopted in December 2007, sets out the “fundamental commitment” of The University of Manchester “to the academic freedom of all its members, without fear or favour, to express unpopular opinions, advocate controversial views, adduce provocative arguments or present trenchant critiques of conventional beliefs, paradigms or ideologies….An authentic university is an institution that so respects the potency of truth and the efficacy of open, rational inquiry, that it can also respect and defend the expression or advocacy of any lawful idea, opinion or argument”.

    While individuals and groups within the University community are empowered and encouraged to express lawful views on any issue whatsoever, the University as a University may not, and will not, issue statements about any matter not directly related to its core educational mission.

    This is a principle that protects academic freedom.

    The Right to Protest

    As an institution embracing academic freedom, we welcome the lawful expression by students and staff of strongly held views, and accept the right of those advocating such views to assert them in ways designed to confront the rest of us with the issues involved. I am pleased to be President and Vice-Chancellor of a University whose students think deeply and feel strongly about current issues facing their own or other societies. In particular, I accept the right of groups of students to organise protests as means of drawing attention to their causes. All such protests must, however, remain peaceful.

    The Rights of Others

    The right to lawful protest in The University of Manchester is restricted, not by any limit to freedom of expression, but by the fact that a judgement has to be made eventually about the balance between the rights of the protestors on the one hand and, on the other, the rights of all the University’s other students, staff and visitors to go about their business safely, unimpeded and free from harassment.

    The judgement required is particularly acute where a protest is taking place in a University building. In these circumstances, we must ensure that protestors have a reasonable opportunity to assert their views while also ensuring that the University’s ability to conduct its normal business is not unduly disrupted over an extended period. Along with my senior colleagues, I have as President and Vice-Chancellor the responsibility for managing this delicate balance, knowing that it is never possible to satisfy everyone.

    Balancing Competing Interests

    In any prolonged and disruptive protest, there will come a time when the University has to act to safeguard the interests of the majority of staff and students not involved in the protest. The University will at that point instruct those concerned that their continuing protest may be treated as “misconduct” under the Regulations of the University.

    I should also make it clear that as President and Vice-Chancellor I will not engage in discussions with any advocate of matters related to a protest about substantive issues or demands being made by or on behalf of protestors, as long as any protestors remain inside University premises.

    I hope that this letter is accepted as a serious effort to explain the University’s position.

    Yours sincerely,

    Alan Gilbert
    President and Vice-Chancellor

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