Image Credit: The event as originally uploaded.
The University of York Stop the War Society remains unapologetic over its use of the word 'genocide' in an event its hosting on Eurovision night on 18 May.
The campus group, which was ratified by YUSU in November, described the event as a "genocide free option", referring to the host of the annual song contest this year: the State of Israel.
In the description of the event, the society describes it as a boycott of this year's competition which is "100% oppression, murder and war crime free". It also describes this year's contest as "propaganda".
Backlash over the event forced an intervention by Union President James Durcan who condemned the "highly inappropriate" language which "could well leave members of the student community feeling uncomfortable; something that is clearly unacceptable."
The event details have now been changed, and it is now described as an "oppression free option" instead. Despite this, the group is unapologetic over the original wording claiming it to be “commensurate with what has been happening in the Occupied Territories”, adding that they "stand by the use of the word".
A spokesperson from the University of York Jewish Society told Nouse: "York JSoc vehemently disagrees with the allegation of a past or ongoing genocide, perpetuated by Israel, against the Palestinian people.
"The use of the term genocide is both lacking in basis and inflammatory. The decision by the Stop the War Society to change the name of their event is welcome, but to claim to do so out of courtesy, rather than because the claim is unsubstantiated, is unsatisfactory."
One Jewish student on campus expressed their disappointment that a ratified society would hold what they called a "blatantly anti-Semitic event". "Changing the title from ‘genocide’ to ‘oppression’ doesn’t erase the underlying racism," they said, "especially when the society has gone on record to say that they stand by their usage of the term."
University of York Stop the War Society is affiliated with the National Stop The War Coalition.