Academia

Benny Morris Accosted on Kingsway

I have previously mentioned Benny Morris’s lecture at LSE which I was fortunate to attend. What I did not know was what had occurred in advance of the lecture as Benny Morris walked down Kingsway towards the LSE. He discusses it himself in an article for the National Interest:

As I walked down Kingsway, a major London thoroughfare, a small mob—I don’t think any other word is appropriate—of some dozen Muslims, Arabs and their supporters, both men and women, surrounded me and, walking alongside me for several hundred yards as I advanced towards the building where the lecture was to take place, raucously harangued and bated me with cries of “fascist,” “racist,” “England should never have allowed you in,” “you shouldn’t be allowed to speak.” Several spoke in broken, obviously newly acquired, English. Violence was thick in the air though none was actually used. Passersby looked on in astonishment, and perhaps shame, but it seemed the sight of angry bearded, caftaned Muslims was sufficient to deter any intervention. To me, it felt like Brownshirts in a street scene in 1920s Berlin—though on Kingsway no one, to the best of my recall, screamed the word “Jew.”

He added:

Another disconcerting element in what went on in the lecture hall was the hosting LSE professor’s brief introductory remarks, which failed completely to note the harrassment and intimidation (of which he had been made fully aware) of the lecturer on Kingsway, or to criticize them in any way. My assumption was that some were LSE students.

There was a sense that the chairman was deliberately displaying caution in view of the world in which he lives.

Do read the full article including his description of how he was smuggled out of the building.

Hat Tip: MR

UPDATE

A question has been raised in the comments section below and directly to me via a personal correspondence that Morris’s focus on the religion of the protesters was unacceptable and outrageous.  I take such a complaint seriously. My response is how I read the article which I detail below:

I saw Morris’s point being that the reason that the behaviour of the particular demonstrators was not condemned loudly was because they were Muslim. Had it been a bunch of white Trotkyists then I suspect that a decent chair would have said something. i.e. the focus on the religion of the protesters is because of the response or, in this case,  lack of response to their actions by others as opposed to the fact that they were Muslim demonstrators.

The question is as follows: are Muslim demonstrators being treated differently by the elite and given a free pass to act in a way that would be condemned if they were not Muslim? This is how I saw the article.

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