As previously reported, the University of Southampton is funding a three-day event in April devoted to searching for ways to use international law to deny the world’s only Jewish state the right to exist (the ZF has a petition about it). David Collier has done a very thorough analysis of the speakers - it is even worse than most people originally imagined. Another excellent analysis of the speakers is here.
My friend has had a further response from the University. Below is that response and his follow-up.
Letter from Southampton University 10 March 2015
Thank you for your follow up email of 25 February, and I apologise for the delay in responding.
You have asked a number of questions, to which I hope to be able to respond.
On speakers, as I emailed on Friday, the programme for the conference showing speakers and titles of presentations is now on line. There have been a large number of other speakers who were approached to speak at the conference but who were unavailable or did not wish to participate.
On funding, the cost of the 3 day conference is approximately £49,000. This will be funded by a mixture of conference fees paid by attendees and by donations. Donations have been received by both individuals and organisations, and all donations for the conference will be approved in accordance with our Gift Acceptance Policy (as is the case for any donations to the University). Speakers are unpaid but do have their travel and subsistence costs covered. The University will not be providing direct funding to support the conference. However, academic staff in the School of Law do have access to administrative support staff available to them in carrying out their work, and a small element of this administrative support is being used to help with the organisation of this conference. I am sorry that I cannot give you an estimate for the cost of this support, but it is certainly small compared with the cost of the conference.
You mention that the University would not support an event that challenged the legitimacy of any one of the 58 Islamic States. I wanted to assure you that if a member of the University’s academic staff proposed an academic event on such a subject then it would be considered in exactly the same way as this conference, according to our Code of Practice for ensuring freedom of speech within the law.
I hope that this provides an answer to the questions you raised.
With best wishes
Follow up letter:
Thank you for your response.
Your comment about the speakers is curious. For the record there is not a single participant to put the case for the existence of Israel. In a detailed analysis here http://david-collier.com/?p=98 the author has noted that 80% of the speakers have PUBLICLY demanded a boycott of Israel. I believe that the other 20% can also be defined as anti-Israel.
Hence the idea – as the University continues to maintain – that somehow this conference will consider different and balanced views is palpable nonsense. As I said in my original letter, this is an anti-Semitic hatefest masquerading as valid academic activity. You should be totally ashamed of yourselves. The University’s reputation is going to be severely damaged by this.
Finally, regarding the financing could you please clarify whether or not the organisers are paying the full commercial cost of conference and lecture room hire.
And for those who keep telling me anti-Zionism has nothing to do with anti-Semitism please see here.
UPDATE 18 March 2015: