Trinity College Student Union hosts Anti-Apartheid Week

Christine O'Mahony

Trinity College front square. Credit: TCD

Trinity College Student Union hosted an Anti-Apartheid week (4th-8th October), with many pro-Palestinian discussions and talks on the ‘Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions’ (BDS) movement.

On Thursday a protest outside the Dining Hall steps, called on the University to cut all ties with Israel.

Trinity BDS Campaign member, Tara Nic Giolla Seanáin, spoke to the College View to summarise the week.

On Monday, a meeting titled, “What is Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions movement,” was held via Zoom.

This event was chaired by Nic Giolla Seanáin and speakers included Martin O’Quigley, long time BDS supporter, and Ronit Lentin, an Anti-Zionist Jew, who focused on academics and their support for Palestine and asked people to refer to her as a “former Israeli.”

That evening saw a Culture Night, held in the Pav, where the audience was entertained by Palestinian dancers, music and sampled Palestinian cuisine.

On Wednesday Cezar Qumsiehon delivered a talk titled “Climate Change under Apartheid,” highlighting how this further harms Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.

Another talk was delivered by Asad Abu Sharkhon“Shared Struggle: Historyof Irish-Palestine Solidarity”. There was also a Placard-making workshop, in preparation for the protest on Thursday.

According to Nic Giolla Seanáin the protest is to express the will of students who “want Trinity to divest its €2.5 million in arms companies, such as Raytheon Technologies and BAE Systems, and to cut its research ties to Israel.”

She also said that she was very happy with the turnout of more than 100 people. Richard Boyd Barrett TD (PBP) spoke at the event as well as Asad Abu Sharkh, a student who was expelled from Palestine and is now studying at Trinity.

Friday featured a talk on the “Economics of Apartheid”, by Shir Hever, an economic researcher based at the Alternative Information Centre in Jerusalem.

It was followed by an open discussion on “Pinkwashing and Israel” hosted by DUGES (Dublin University Gender Equality Society) and Trinity BDS.

Trinity BDS Campaign Chair, Clara McCormack, also spoke to the College View about the protest.

“Trinity BDS and TCDSU held a protest on the campus of Trinity College to highlight the plight of the Palestinian people and the financial and academic ties that TCD has with the Israeli state.”

“The protest was well attended and several students spoke on the issue, including the president of TCDSU Leah Keogh, myself as chair of the Trinity BDS campaign, and Conor Reddy as a student activist who helped pass the BDS referendum in TCD and who was also active in Take Back Trinity and other important campaigns. Other speakers included Dr Asad Abu Sharkh, a lifelong anti-apartheid activist from Gaza who was active in TCD’s campaign against South African apartheid and helped found the BDS movement in Palestine; along with Richard about Barrett TD who has been incredibly active and outspoken on the subject of Israeli apartheid and Palestinian liberation,” she said.

“TCD also has research and other academic ties with Israeli universities which help to facilitate and legitimise Israeli apartheid. We hope to break these ties in order to show solidarity with the Palestinian people and to put pressure on Israel to end its settler-colonial, apartheid regime,” McCormack said.

Christine O’Mahony

Image Credit: TCD