Sign the open letter
Please write below exactly as you wish your title to appear in the signed letter
To verify your status as an LMH student, please provide an answer to one or more of the following questions:
  • What is the colloquial name of the building at the centre of the LMH garden maze?
  • Whose portrait is found opposite the entrance to the dining hall?
  • What is the name of the accommodation block where most students live their first year?
You may withdraw your name from this letter at any time by contacting the website administrator at isaacglassbrook[at]icloud[dot]com. All identifying information collected will, for the purposes of data protection, be destroyed within 6 months.

Open letter from students of Lady Margaret Hall in support of the encampment

11th May 2024

We, the undersigned students of LMH, wish to express our firm support for those of the encampment outside the Pitt Rivers Museum. We additionally extend this support to those of the student and faculty-led collectives across the country who, likewise, continue to push for the total divestment of UK educational institutions from organisations enabling genocide in Gaza.

Over the past 7 months, the world has witnessed countless horrific acts of direct and indirect violence against the Palestinian people. In November it was acknowledged by the UN Secretary General, two weeks after 41 UN experts warned the international community of Israeli actions constituting incitement to genocide1, that over 14,000 Palestinians had been killed since the start of the Israeli military operation2. Over two-thirds of those killed at the time were reported to be women and children, with Save the Children reporting that more children were killed in Gaza in the three weeks since October 7th than had been killed in all armed conflicts in any year since 20193. Today, women and children account for 70% of the over 34,000 killings in Gaza4, and an estimated minimum of 90% of those killed are civilians5. Further, the World Food Programme has stated that, as per the IPC report, 1.1 million people in Gaza are projected to face catastrophic food insecurity between March 16th and July 15th in absence of an immediate ceasefire6. Despite the ICJ ruling that Israel's actions plausibly amount to genocide, and consequent provisional measures including an order to provide aid, in the weeks following this order the daily average number of trucks entering Gaza decreased by over a third as a result of delays and denials at the Israeli crossing and inspection points7.

The targeted violence against and taking of civilians by Hamas in the October 7th attacks cannot, and should not, be ignored. Like the University8, we unequivocally condemn these attacks. No such attacks, however, can ever motivate to justify genocide9. Nor should such crimes ever be instrumentalised, as they have been, as a means to overshadow the horrific reality of belligerent occupation under which Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank have been forced to live for decades10.

As members of the University community, we make particular note of the active targeting and murder of at least 94 prominent academics by the IDF, and systematic destruction of every university in the Gaza Strip11. Video clips released by Israeli media on January 17th evidence the demolition of Al-Israa University 70 days after it was captured by the IDF. As of March 26th, 5,881 Palestinian students were declared killed in Israeli attacks in Gaza and the West Bank, in addition to 264 teachers killed in Gaza12. These attacks are reflective of the horrific intent of the Israeli state to permanently incapacitate the educational infrastructure in Gaza, and it is the innate duty of educational institutions across the world to condemn such attacks, in addition to providing support to Palestinian students and academics in their continued education and work.

It is both for this reason, and out of our fundamental humanitarian duty, that we echo the calls already made to the University and its constituent colleges by Oxford Action for Palestine13, Jewish Students for Justice14, Rhodes Scholars for Palestine, the Oxford Palestine Society15, and the Oxford Staff and Faculty Open Letter16. We emphasise the following:

  1. As per findings that Barclays Bank has increased the value of its shareholdings in nine companies known to supply arms to the Israeli military by over 55% since July 2022, in addition to an increased value of loans and underwriting of 54.5% to said companies17, the University of Oxford, and all institutions associated with it, must immediately seek to divest from Barclays.

  2. While the University holds a policy prohibiting direct investment in arms, this must extend to a restriction of indirect investments into arms. In particular, Oxford University Endowment Management, as a company with whom many colleges invest, must endeavour to make public any and all investment in portfolios that fund instruments of war.

  3. That the Vice-Chancellor should unequivocally condemn the targeted murders of 94 Palestinian academics, the wilful decimation of culture in the form of the destruction of the Gazan educational system, and more widely the continued genocide of the Palestinian people in Gaza.

  4. That the University commit immediately to programs facilitating the continued education of Palestinian scholars, by providing online access to library resources and any additional educational support. Additionally, that the University and its constituent colleges endeavour to provide aid in rebuilding Gaza’s universities when the time comes.

As the humanitarian situation in Palestine becomes increasingly desperate with each passing day, it is our hope that the University and its constituent institutions will take this opportunity to lead and pressure the international community in refusal to be complicit. Lessons can be taken from the welcome responses of institutions such as Trinity College Dublin18 and the University of Barcelona19, but such commitments cannot stand alone. We look forward to engaging in discussions concerning the above demands with our own college, and hope for a prompt and satisfactory response from the University administration to the demands of the encampment.

Finally, we firmly emphasise our opposition to discrimination in all of its forms. In particular, we condemn in the strongest terms the individuals and organisations attempting to hijack condemnation of the Israeli state to advance their own antisemitic agendas. There should be no place for discrimination, whether at LMH, the University of Oxford, or anywhere else.

Signed,

Ike Glassbrook

Evelyn Lambert

Amelia Dovell

Malaikah Butt

Asha Davison

Tasneem Jodiyawalla

Seraphina Evans

Alyana Basu

Ruby Hurst

Charlotte Phillips

Laura Drugan

Nydile Mohan

Charli Wild

Isheta Ahmed

Alisha Ossman

Ruth Laing

Emily Cottam

Innayat Brar

Naomi Carr

Walter McCabe

Delina Gabriel

Phoebe Saunders

Louise Tavernier

Dalia Ramazan

Paddy Harmer

Jenusiya

Denise Dzakpasu

Juliette Majid

Masha Ullah-Radiguet

Yuqi Fu

George Close-Smith

Caleb Peppiatt

Charlotte Walker

Sasha Wertime

Hannah Moody

Laura Noble

Emma Davies

Nerys Bevan

Bethan Howls

Lucy Wilson

Sabyia Ahmed

Hashir Butt

Eve B

Martha Galsworthy

Finnley Aston

Bruno McGrath

Kizzy M

Amelie Chung

Silvia Dignum-Smith

Aprajita Sharma

Lauren Allsopp

Eleanor Housden

Alicia Martínez Patiño

Chaudhary Ibrahim Atif

Liz Drake

Olivia Sloan

Christopher Trevett

Ethan Thomas

Kian Patel

Danial Hussain

Inaara Hall

Jessica MacRae

Mai Kheir

Amelia Tharme

Alice Watkinson

Eve Capewell

Edith Matthewson

Isaac Lethbridge

Gruffydd Price

Deryn CresseyRodgers

Shreya Shukla

Rory Shields

Keeley Dennett

Cora Harvey Braddick

Rahiya Jeilani

Kara Martin

Ash Silva

Ghena Daksi

Gulizer Buyukgul

Ashly Tomy Chummar

David Cuesta-Moreta

Oscar Wood

Elijah Amiss

Ana Higginson

Aramis Marti Shahandeh

Clement Wong

Tom Kirby

Michael Greener

Edward Preston

Edie Budd

Mia Hollingsworth-Smith (alumni)

Anna Hillier

Wendy Zeta

Tabitha Minson (alumni)

Eeshvar Bhatti

Mominah R

Olivia Connery

Ava Lewallen

Deimile Levokaite

Amy Asani

Zubaida Mukhtar

Lea Wong

Emilio Loulas

Martha Todman

Grace Njoku

Rhea Chhatwal

Jiayue Shi

Charlie Nicholls

Owen Leivers

Dan Cole

Christina Kurian

Tara Karki

Emily MacLeod

Lily makin

Lizzie Haworth

Ahmad Awais

Martha Carus Bird

Bhavini Patel

Samuel Simons

Krishna Gowda

Joni Brown

Michelle Hou

Emilie Dunn

Pauline Bogdanovich

Eleanor F

Zora Hampton

Footnotes

  1. https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2023/11/gaza-un-experts-call-international-community-prevent-genocide-against

  2. https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/sg/statement/2023-11-29/secretary-generals-remarks-the-security-council-the-middle-east-delivered

  3. https://www.savethechildren.net/news/gaza-3195-children-killed-three-weeks-surpasses-annual-number-children-killed-conflict-zones

  4. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/longform/2023/10/9/israel-hamas-war-in-maps-and-charts-live-tracker

  5. https://euromedmonitor.org/a/6004

  6. https://www.wfp.org/news/famine-imminent-northern-gaza-new-report-warns

  7. https://www.hrw.org/news/2024/02/26/israel-not-complying-world-court-order-genocide-case

  8. https://www.ox.ac.uk/about/organisation/global-crises/university-response-israel-gaza-middle-east

  9. Paragraph 1, https://icj-cij.org/sites/default/files/case-related/192/192-20231228-app-01-00-en.pdf

  10. Subsection II.B., Paragraphs 11-13, https://www.ohchr.org/sites/default/files/documents/hrbodies/hrcouncil/sessions-regular/session55/advance-versions/a-hrc-55-73-auv.pdf

  11. https://reliefweb.int/report/occupied-palestinian-territory/israel-kills-dozens-academics-destroys-every-university-gaza-strip-enar

  12. https://aje.io/5hqclk?update=2799374

  13. https://www.instagram.com/p/C6n7VSJN2Gl/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link&igsh=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==

  14. https://www.instagram.com/p/C6vfu0MMMqA/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link&igsh=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==

  15. https://www.instagram.com/p/C1AMIWJhrFv/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link&igsh=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==

  16. https://oxfordgazastaffsolidarity.wordpress.com/

  17. https://palestinecampaign.org/wp-content/uploads/Barclays-report-May-2024-v3-FINAL.pdf

  18. https://www.theguardian.com/world/article/2024/may/08/trinity-college-dublin-agrees-to-divest-from-israeli-firms-after-student-protest?CMP=share_btn_url

  19. https://www.catalannews.com/society-science/item/university-of-barcelonas-senate-votes-in-favor-of-pro-palestine-protesters-requests