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Bristol Uni vice-chancellor condemns selling of pro-Hamas booklets on campus after protest

The police are investigating the issue after information was handed out at a pro-Palestine rally this week

The vice-chancellor of Bristol University has written a statement to all students and staff registered at the university to condemn the sharing of information in support of the terrorist group Hamas. This follows reports of a pamphlet being sold on campus by a student group which contains statements of support for the terrorist organisation.

Evelyn Welch sent an email to all Bristol University students, which read: “I must address reports that unacceptable material, supportive of Hamas, appears to have been available at a demonstration that took place on our campus.

“It is important for everyone in our community to be fully aware that Hamas is categorised in the UK as a proscribed terrorist organisation, meaning it is illegal to express support, including moral support, for Hamas and its activities.”

The group responsible for the distribution of the material is the Socialist Worker Student Society, a national organisation with divisions at universities across the country, including at Bristol where it is officially affiliated with the Bristol Student Union.

The booklet, which is titled Palestinian Resistance, Revolution and the Struggle for Freedom, declares the position of the Socialist Workers Party; “We consider Hamas to be a resistance movement against Zionism and imperialism…From this perspective, we unconditionally support Hamas when it is engaged in military or non-military struggles against Israel.”

The pamphlet costs £2 and describes Hamas as a “resistance movement”, despite it being classified as a terrorist group according to the Terrorism Act 2000. It is a terror offence to support Hamas after the group was added to the list of Terrorist groups in 2021.

Following a rally on Wednesday 17th October, the pamphlet was reported on in the national media, resulting in backlash from several MPs. The minister for education addressed the issue: “Students are entitled to freedom of speech, but not to glorify mass murder or promote dangerous and illegal terrorist organisations.”

The leaflet was written in 2014, before Hamas was designated a terrorist group in 2021, but was still circulated at the rally last week.

Yesterday another pro-Palestine protest organised by SWSS and Friends of Palestine Society marched through the university.

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