The discussion was a part of a series of "Conversations at King's” events hosted by King's ProvostChristopher Lorde with permission for Varsity

Pro-Palestinian students disrupted a panel discussion at King’s College yesterday, (21/05) accusing the event of platforming “Zionists and military affiliates”.

The event, hosted by Gillian Tett, the College’s Provost, was a discussion on “feminism and cybersecurity”. The panel included the director of GCHQ, whom protesters accused of having “reprehensible involvement in the genocide on Gaza”.

Pro-Palestinian students interrupted the discussion with a two-minute speech in which they listed the names of children killed in Gaza and waved Palestinian flags.

The group responsible, King’s Cam for Palestine (KC4P), recently released their demands for the College to drop ties with “unethical” sponsors, cut all ties with Israel, and develop a college committee made up of fellows and students to approve all corporate affiliations and invitations.

The discussion was a part of a series of “Conversations at King’s” events hosted by Tett, with the panel including vice-chancellor Deborah Prentice, Anne Keast-Butler, Director of GCHQ, and Anne Neuberger, a White House security advisor.

GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) is a government security organisation responsible for “gaining intelligence from communications overseas,” and “disrupt[ing] internet activity targeting UK industry and individuals”. The organisation has previously been criticised for their “strong partnership” with the Israeli Defence Forces.

A spokesperson for KC4P told Varsity: “Dr Gillian Tett has now twice circumvented the students, fellows, the governing body, and the staff, exploiting her contacts from her position at the Financial Times to unilaterally invite government and intelligence officials to college.”

The group accused the officials of having “tangible links to the ongoing genocide of Palestinian people,” and has demanded that Tett and the College join them in standing in “solidarity with the Palestinian people”.

The action comes as the Cambridge for Palestine (C4P) encampment, located outside King’s College, enters its second week. The group intends to continue camping until all of their demands are met, and has been holding daily “camp onboarding” sessions for those who wish to join the encampment.

This Monday, C4P began formal negotiations with Cambridge over their demands for the University to divest from Israel.


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Regarding yesterday’s KC4P action, Cambridge for Palestine, told Varsity: “The group who have carried the Kings for Palestine action are separate to us. It only goes to show that there is a wider student movement that is disgusted by Israel’s genocide of Palestine.”

“C4P did not involve themselves with the protest. We do, however, fully support what King’s for Palestine stand for, and we fully support all who stand for a free Palestine,” they said.

A spokesperson from King’s College told Varsity: “The event at which the protest took place was focused on the roles of government, academia and industry in finding solutions to global challenges relating to cyber security, quantum computing and emerging technologies.”

“The protest took place within College protocols, in which the student was given 2 minutes to speak uninterrupted. The protestors then left the venue,” they continued.

GCHQ was contacted for comment.