THE BLOG

Campus Politics at Leeds University

01/02/2013 12:13 GMT | Updated 02/04/2013 10:12 BST

Universities across the UK are a melting pot of different ideas. This is extremely important for the enrichment of learning, since it provides students with the opportunity to debate and discuss ideas, and organise protests on critical issues.

The Leeds University Islamic Society recently organised a mock checkpoint outside the Student Union building, in protest of the treatment of Palestinians in Israel. In response, the Jewish Society sought to promote an alternative view of the situation, and produced a video commemorating the victims of external terrorist attacks in Israel of every January, of every year, since 1993. The video, which was filmed and put together over three days, reinforces the need for tight and secure borders.

The video portrays a powerful message, which does not condemn the Palestinian people nor disregard the difficulties of living in some Palestinian areas. But at the same time, it correctly emphasises the importance of secure borders and crossings in order to guarantee the safety of Israeli citizens. In addition, it commemorates the many Israeli citizens who have lost their lives in terrorist attacks.

Whilst campus politics can often be appear to be both aggressive and antagonistic, it is important to remember the importance of allowing debates to take place on campus. The importance of freedom of speech and respecting the rights of students to protest cannot be understated, and has been a central aspect of my university experience.

There is no place for censoring these discussions. As the old adage goes: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it".