UK dispatch: university students on multiple campuses protest Israeli actions in Gaza in solidarity with North American and European students Dispatches
© Oxford Action for Palestine
UK dispatch: university students on multiple campuses protest Israeli actions in Gaza in solidarity with North American and European students

Students at multiple UK universities this week have set up protests and encampments in solidarity with similar protests against Israel’s war in Gaza recently seen across campuses in the United States as well as in Canada, France and Germany. The UK universities include Oxford, Cambridge, University of College London, Newcastle,  Sheffield, Warwick, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Belfast. Students are demanding a boycott and divestment from Israel, as many UK universities currently hold investments in arms firm BAE Systems, which is currently supplying Israel with arms. 

The protest action at Newcastle University so far involves around 50 students in tents. A local police presence has been largely hands-off, but students have called for the University to cut ties with Israel. Protest organisers say they will monitor whether the protest grows in the coming days, depending on the response from university administrators and law enforcement. Their goals include pressuring the university to pull investments from arms companies fueling conflicts worldwide and from businesses supporting Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

Students at Oxford University have made a number of demands (listed below) with university staff standing firmly in support of the members of the university community who have begun an encampment outside the Pitt Rivers Museum to demand that the university divest from Israel after accusations of  Israel’s genocide in Gaza, as well as from Israel’s ongoing apartheid regime against Palestinians and its settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.


  1. Disclosure of University-Wide Assets
    – Annually disclose detailed accounts of all university-wide assets, including investments, land holdings, donations, and grants.
  2. Divestment from Specific Companies
    – Immediately divest from companies involved in arms manufacture.
    – Pledge to divest from companies complicit in Israeli actions regarded as genocide or apartheid within five years.
  3. Overhaul of Investment Policy
    – Expand ethical investment restrictions to include all arms and military technology companies.
    – Implement ethical restrictions against investing in companies complicit in Israeli actions regarded as genocide or apartheid.
    – Include community stakeholders in investment review processes to adhere to justice-based guidelines.
  4. Boycott Institutional Relationships with Israeli Entities
    – Terminate all current and future institutional relationships with Israeli universities.
    – End collaboration with companies and institutions complicit in the aforementioned Israeli actions.
  5. Sever Ties with Barclays
    – Discontinue banking relationships with Barclays due to its investments in entities supplying military technology to Israel.
  6. Support Palestinian Educational Initiatives
    – Commit financial and material resources to rebuild Palestinian universities affected by conflict.
    – Establish a task force to support the Palestinian higher education sector.
    – Provide interim support for at-risk scholars in Palestine through academic programs and scholarships.

Palestinian academics in the UK issued a statement last month calling for rebuilding of schools, hospitals and universities and to “bring an immediate ceasefire and end UK backing of Israel’s genocidal campaign [so that] their students may resume teaching, research and studies on their land at the earliest opportunity”.

Today British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak held a meeting of university leadership and Chancellors after he told Cabinet on Tuesday that there has been what he called an “unacceptable rise in anti-semitism” on UK university campuses.  Representatives of the Union of Jewish Students  UK (‘UJS’) also met with the Prime Minister. In a statement, they said they had:

expressed their gratitude for the Government’s support for Jewish students but raised concerns surrounding the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Act. The Prime Minister acknowledged UJS’ concerns, and senior ministers agreed to consider the Office for Students’ approach to regulation of campus free speech.