January 06, 2012

Calls grow for ban on Vergès

The Jewish Chronicle has reported Searchlight’s campaign to ban the visit of Jacques Vergès to London, where he has been invited to take part in a debate at the School of Oriental and African Studies.

The paper reports that Mike Freer MP, vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, hopes to raise the visit of French-Vietnamese lawyer Jacques Vergès with Home Secretary Theresa May.

Others are adding their voices to the campaign. A spokesperson for the Community Security Trust, which represents and advises the Jewish community on security and antisemitism, said: “It is hard to see how Jacques Vergès’ record of defending Nazis, Holocaust Deniers, mass murderers and terrorists can contribute anything worthwhile to a debate on international justice. This invitation smacks of the kind of attention-seeking sensationalism that can only damage the reputation of an institution like SOAS.”

And Karen Pollock, Chief Executive, Holocaust Educational Trust told Searchlight: “It seems perverse that any prestigious institution would welcome Jacques Vergès, a notorious figure, who over the decades has defended Nazi war criminals and Holocaust deniers with apparent relish – and whose extremely controversial views would surely undermine any serious academic debate.”

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