Manchester University occupied by students over its Israel links

  • Post last modified:March 20, 2024
  • Reading time:9 mins read

Over 50 Students at Manchester University are occupying the Simon Building in solidarity with Palestinians facing Israel‘s genocide in Gaza – with the university being complicit.

Manchester University: complicit in genocide

They are demanding that the university ends its partnership with BAE Systems and other arms companies, cuts its ties with Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and stops what they call all “unethical research”:

Students accuse the university’s senior management of complicity in the genocide of Palestinians. They say the university has failed to take any action over its extensive ties to Israel despite the International Court of Justice ruling that Israel is plausibly committing a genocide:

Manchester University Israel

The occupation demands are that Manchester University must:

  • End its partnership with BAE Systems.
  • Cut ties with Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
  • Adopt a policy ensuring that all research is ethical and doesn’t contribute towards the arms trade.

The evidence stacks up

Tel Aviv University, which Manchester University has a research partnership with, developed the Dahiya Doctrine. This calls for the targeting of civilian infrastructure to bring pressure on Palestinians, rather than targeting armed groups.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is built on illegally occupied land, with exchange students from Manchester University sent to live in these settlements.

BAE Systems is Europe’s largest arms company and is involved in producing F-35 and F-16 jets which are used against Palestinians in Gaza. Manchester University has no policy regulating whether research could be used to harm lives or for other unethical purposes. Moreover, it has received at least £15m in research funding from arms companies in the last five years.

So, the Simon Building is being occupied by at least 50 students:

It marks the one year anniversary of when students were forcefully evicted from the Simon Building during protests related to the Rent Strikes.

Manchester University: joining others around England

This occupation coincides with actions at other universities. These include Goldsmiths, Leeds, UCL, Bristol, and Nottingham. Students will be holding workshops and other public events over the next few days to demand a change in direction from Manchester University.

Last week, vice chancellor Nancy Rothwell was recorded denying that arms companies are unethical. Students have been protesting for months, including a one night occupation in November, with no response to requests for negotiations from any of Manchester University’s senior management.

A spokesperson for Manchester Leftist Action said:

Manchester University has left us with no choice but to escalate this campaign. This is a wake-up call that students will continue taking action until our University’s complicity in genocide is ended.

Featured image and additional images via Manchester Leftist Action

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