Calls for the destruction of Israel in SOAS lecture

“What is so terrorist about Hamas?”

Dr Tamimi: even Cambridge Islamic Society think he’s “offensive”

Palestinian academic Azzam Tamimi, who has advocated suicide bombing, has told students he “longs to be a martyr” and that Israel “must come to an end”.

Dr Tamimi, director of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought in London, spoke to students at London’s School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS) on Tuesday.

On Monday, he addressed Cambridge University’s Islamic Society and is also due to speak at the Federation of Student Islamic Societies’ Palestine Week at Manchester University this weekend.

At SOAS, he praised Hamas and said: “Today Hamas is considered a terrorist organisation because that’s what the Americans and Israelis and cowardly politicians of Europe want, but what is so terrorist about it?

“You shouldn’t be afraid of being labelled extreme, radical or terrorist. If fighting for your home land is terrorism, I take pride in being a terrorist. The Koran tells me if I die for my homeland, I’m a martyr and I long to be a martyr.”

He criticised calls for a two-state solution and said: “Why are the Jews superhuman and better than anyone else that God would give them a homeland? Is God a racist? A god who would prefer people because of their race is not a god I want to associate with. Claiming they are being given the land of God is a racist idea.

“If the world felt so guilty about the Holocaust, the Jews should have been compensated, not brought to my country at the expense of my people.

“Israel does not belong to my homeland and must come to an end. This can happen peacefully if they acknowledge what they did — or we will continue to struggle until Israel is no more.”

He also urged students to continue hosting debates, despite calls to ban controversial speakers from campuses.

He said: “I want to encourage you not to be intimidated by the pro-Israel lobby. The Zionists tell a pack of lies.”

Dr Tamimi spoke alongside Ben White, author of Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide, who urged students to boycott Israeli goods.

The Union of Jewish Students criticised Cambridge’s Islamic Society (ISoc) after it hosted Dr Tamimi days after urging the university’s Israel Society to withdraw an invitation to Israeli historian Benny Morris, claiming he was an “Islamophobic hate speaker”.

A UJS spokeswoman said: “When Cambridge ISoc was asked by the Israel Society to revoke Dr Tamimi’s invitation, the response was: ‘Yes, we know he’s offensive but we welcome you to attend and challenge.’

“It is another example of hate speakers being invited to British campuses, of an unnecessary and hurtful provocation to liberal and minority students and finally of university authorities failing to fulfil their duty of care to all students.”

Labour MP Denis MacShane, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, added: “I am worried that vice-chancellors are in complete denial about Islamist preaching on campuses.

“University chiefs are being foolish if they confuse freedom of expression with a platform for hate.”

Universities UK, which represents the heads of British universities, last month pledged to set up a working group to tackle extremism.

The group has yet to meet. It declined to comment on Dr Tamimi’s tour.

A Community Security Trust spokesman said: “Azzam Tamimi takes pride in being called a terrorist and repeatedly expresses his personal desire to be a suicide bomber. His glorification of terrorism and his grossly offensive comments about Jews epitomise the reasons why university and education authorities need to start taking responsibility for what is occurring on British campuses.”