Students Accuse Cambridge University Professor of Racism After He Posted ‘Import the Arab World, Become the Arab World’
Rory Tingle, Daily Mail, October 13, 2023
Students have accused a Cambridge University professor of racism after he tweeted ‘Import the Arab World, become the Arab World’ in response to footage of pro-Palestinian protesters in London.
Dr James Orr, an academic at the Faculty of Divinity, made the comments on a video showing crowds of demonstrators outside the Israeli embassy in Kensington on Monday – two days after Hamas terrorists attacked Israel.
The footage showed protesters waving Palestinian flags and holding banners in Kensington High Street, where the air was thick with smoke from flares. At one moment it panned to men who were praying on the street.
Dr Orr’s comments were criticised as ‘obviously racist’ by Cambridge’s Palestine Solidarity Society and Middle Eastern North African Society.
A member of the Divinity Faculty told newspaper Varsity: ‘This clearly falls well short of the standards expected of an academic at a public university.
‘But it falls especially short of an academic in a religious studies department, with members of varying ethnicities and religious affiliations.
‘It is unthinkable that Orr can continue to enjoy the confidence of students and colleagues to teach, examine and collaborate without discrimination.’
Dr Orr shared the post hours after Hamas terrorists launched a series of attacks that killed at least 1,200 Israelis, including 260 revellers who were gunned down at a music festival.
Cahir O’Kane, a professor of genetics at Cambridge, responded to his post by saying: ‘You could have commented on this post or the responses to the shocking Hamas atrocities in any number of reasonable ways. But you tweeted a derogatory racist comment that targets Arabs.’
It comes as immigration minister Robert Jenrick revealed plans to deport foreign nationals from Britain if they commit anti-Semitic acts or praise Hamas.
Mr Jenrick has asked officials in the department to look at how they could revoke visas on national security grounds for people who commit hate crimes or express support for the terror group.
It follows numerous examples in recent days of students and academics expressing support for terrorist attacks on Israel by Hamas, which is proscribed under British law.
Gérald Darmanin, France’s interior minister, has ordered all foreigners who commit anti-Semitic acts to be expelled from the country immediately, with three already thrown out.
Existing laws allow British officials to cancel visas for students, visitors and workers on national security grounds or if their presence is judged not to be conducive to the public good.
University College London has announced it is investigating an academic who said on Saturday that Palestinian ‘retaliation’ was ‘entirely justifiable’.
Meanwhile, a professor at another London university claimed the gunning down of 260 innocent Israelis at an outdoor rave was a ‘consequence’ for ‘partying on stolen land’.
Another academic called on people to show solidarity with the ‘Palestinian struggle’.
Their comments have sparked outrage from experts, who accused the institutions employing them of ‘pandering to extremism’.
Professor Anthony Glees, a security and intelligence expert at the University of Buckingham, said: ‘It reeks of hypocrisy that universities will allow academics and students to back a terror organisation but yet they are so quick to no-platform academics.
‘Young impressionable minds are being manipulated under the guise of academic freedom. They [universities] are pandering to extremism.’
A spokesman for the Union of Jewish Students added: ‘It is unconscionable for anyone to seek to justify the murderous and barbaric actions of Hamas, a proscribed terrorist group.
‘There is never a legitimate reason to rape, murder and kidnap innocent civilians.’
It came after a students’ union officer gave a speech on Monday describing the murder of Israelis as ‘beautiful’, while another student said she was ‘full of pride’ at the actions of Hamas terrorists.
Education Secretary Gillian Keegan has written to vice-chancellors urging them to take action against threats to the welfare of Jewish students.
In a letter co-signed by higher education minister Robert Halfon, she said Jewish students must be free to ‘pursue their studies without fear of harassment or intimidation’.
The letter reads: ‘We have seen evidence of a number of student societies that support Palestinians sending out inflammatory messages that show support for Hamas, which is, as you know, a proscribed terrorist organisation.
‘Not only are such statements of questionable legality, but they are also deeply troubling and hurtful to Jewish people, given that so many have friends and family based in Israel.
‘We know that you will share our unequivocal condemnation of these horrific attacks and are also mindful of their potential impact upon Jewish students, especially those who are just beginning their studies.
‘We ask that you act swiftly and decisively against any threats, be they implicit or explicit, to their safety and welfare.
‘In short, we are asking that you do whatever you can to actively provide Jewish students with the reassurance they need, now and in the weeks and months to come to go about their lives, and pursue their studies, without fear of harassment or intimidation.’