Guidance for StudentGroups Regarding the Crisis in The Middle East
We recognise that many across our LSE community remain very deeply concerned about the continuing escalation of violence and terrible loss of life in Israel and Palestine, as well as within the surrounding region and more widely. Your welfare is our top priority and we wanted to remind you that you can access support at LSE at any time during the break, via this page
and your SU is here too. If you need us, please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below we have published some guidance for our student community to help us all navigate the difficult circumstances. We welcome any feedback.
At LSE Students’ Union we are not experts on Israel and Palestine, and we do not imagine we have the answers to this ongoing humanitarian crisis.
Our simple message is that we stand against terrorism, war, and violence against all human beings. We believe that international law must be adhered to. Israeli and Palestinian people have the right to live in peace and prosperity, free from terrorism, free from occupation, free from violence, free from fear.
We know that violence in Israel and Palestine means a higher risk of antisemitism, Islamophobia, anti-Palestinian and anti-Israeli incidents in the UK, and on our campus.
This is, therefore, a moment to support students, stand firm in tackling hate-speech and abuse, and de-escalate fear and tension on campus.
For students this is a moment to show leadership by speaking and acting with compassion and sensitivity for fellow students no matter their identity or their politics.
We encourage all our students at LSE to show leadership in the words they choose and the actions they take in response to the crisis.
In practice, this means:
Speak and act with compassion, sensitivity and humanity
Try to be generous in spirit to people who are reacting from a place of pain and fear
Go out of your way to make sure Jewish, Israeli, Muslim and Palestinian students feel - and are - safe and welcome
Don’t stand by if you witness antisemitism, Islamophobia, or anti-Palestinian abuse or violence take place – report it, have the difficult conversation with a friend, take action
Never interrupt a vigil with ‘counter-messaging’ or put opposing stickers on top of a poster
Never justify, celebrate, or excuse the violence, killing or suffering in Israel and Palestine
Never target Jewish, Israeli, Muslim or Palestinian students with hate or abuse, don’t assume their political beliefs, and don’t demand that they take a ‘stance’
Responding to hate speech, discrimination, hatecrimes, and abuse
Bystander intervention: If it is safe to do so and you feel able to, you can consider if an intervention is appropriate. Options for bystander intervention include:
- direct intervention: e.g. tell someone their speech is harmful or take someone aside for a conversation
- distract: e.g. create a bit of space in the situation that allows someone to exit
- delegate: e.g. approach someone senior in your SU or at an event and ask them to intervene
- document what’s happening: e.g. take a note of what is being said/done and by whom
Approach the victim: Approach the target of the abuse. Ask if they are OK. Ask if you can help in anyway - for example accompanying them as they leave a harmful situation and staying with them until a friend gets there. Find a safe place for them to sit down. Help them report the incident.
Report it: Reporting discriminatory incidents, hate crimes, and hate speech is incredibly important even if nothing can be done about a specific incident or it has already been dealt with informally. Options to report include:
- Report an incident via LSE, Report it, Stop It, here
- If you see or experience antisemitism report it to the Community Security Trust here
- If you see or experience islamophobia, report it to Tell Mama here
- The Union of Jewish Students have opened a Welfare Hotline for students on 02074243288
- Support and information about Islamophobia from the Muslim Council of Britain is here
- Report hate crime to the Police here
New guidance for Students & Student Groups
At LSESU, we are constantly reviewing our policies and procedures as the crisis in the Middle East escalates. As a result we are updating our guidance to inform and protect our students and mitigate any risks.
We also want to ensure that we are doing all we can to ensure we are giving our diverse membership a safe space to express their views, debate in constructive and respectful and campaign for the issues that are important to them.
We encourage students to get in touch with us via email: email@example.com
A note on unlawful speech and proscribed organisations:
Whilst education institutions and students’ unions have a duty to uphold free speech, they also have a clear duty to stop unlawful speech. It is important that students and students’ unions are clear on what constitutes unlawful speech. In the current context there is a higher risk of the following types of unlawful speech: hate speech, inciting violence, inciting terrorism, or inviting support for a proscribed organisation.
Unlawful speech under current UK law:
- Threat to kill
- Provocation or threat of violence
- Speech intended or likely to stir uphatred on the grounds of sexualorientation, race or religion
- Inciting terrorism
- Inviting support for a ‘proscribedorganisation’
- Intentional harassment, alarm or distress
- Defamation /Malicious communications
We know that there will be many Open Letters and Statements circulating in support of various positions. We strongly recommend that, unless all members of your student group are in agreement, you only sign these on behalf of yourself as an individual and not as a student group. Also, we advise you to take the time to read exactly what you are signing.