Jan 8, 2024

TCDSU and Trinity BDS Condemn College’s Neutrality on Gaza Genocide

In a statement released this afternoon, TCDSU calls for “this hypocrisy to be remedied”.

Sáoirse GoesDeputy Editor
Alex Payne for the University Times

The Trinity College Dublin Student’s Union (TCDSU) and the Trinity branch of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement have condemned college’s neutrality on the ongoing genocide in Gaza. 

In a statement shared to both the TCDSU’s and Trinity BDS’s online accounts this afternoon, the advocacy groups asserted that “the words ‘neutral’ and ‘genocide’ should never appear together in the same sentence”. TCDSU continued: “One cannot remain neutral when Israel has murdered over 22,000 people in Gaza […] that is equivalent to the entire population of Trinity”.

This comes after Trinity College’s statement that “our stance is to remain neutral on issues such as this”, as uncovered by a recent Freedom of Information (FOI) request carried out by The Business Post. The FOI request released an email exchange dating back to October 23, which addressed a complaint made to the Provost. The complaint alleges that Trinity College’s official X (formerly Twitter) account reshared a post which endorsed Trinity alum and WebSummit founder Paddy Cosgrave’s criticism of Western governments’ responses to “war crimes” enacted by Israel.


TCDSU and Trinity BDS’s statement further cites Rez Segal, an Israeli professor of Holocaust Studies, who claims that Israel’s assault on Gaza is a “textbook case of genocide”.

Stating the extent of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the statement further notes, “Experts have estimated that, by February, all 2 million people in Gaza will experience crisis levels of food insecurity due to Israel’s inhumane blockade on Gaza. All of this is occurring as Israeli officials continue to make genocidal comments about the Palestinian people, comparing them to animals”. From this basis, the statement condemns the College, reprimanding that the institution“would prefer to remain ‘neutral’ regarding this”. 

Deconstructing Trinity’s claims of neutrality, the statement further cites college’s ties to 13 Israeli institutions, “some of which are directly involved in the war industry”. According to TCDSU, these ties violate the BDS movement’s call for an academic boycott. The statement continues that “Trinity maintains these connections despite multiple protests being called by students”. The statement claims “college staff have tried to suppress” these protests, which TCDSU and Trinity BDS find “incredibly disappointing”. 

In response to recent allegations that security entered college accommodation to remove several Palestinian flags displayed in the windows of student flats, TCDSU and Trinity BDS condemn these actions, asserting them as indicative of “college’s intent to suppress students’ discontent with its complicity in the genocide”. 

“Trinity College clearly picks and chooses which issues it should remain ‘neutral’ on”, the statement stresses college’s hypocrisy in its silence on the situation in Gaza. The statement further notes the lighting of Front Gate in the colours of the Ukrainian flag, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The statement further cites Provost Linda Doyle’s “photo op with the Ukrainian flag at Front Gate”, posted to her Instagram account in early March 2022. 

TCDSU and Trinity BDS conclude their criticism of college’s stance, asserting that “If you choose to remain neutral in cases of grave injustice, you are siding with the oppressor”. They continue: “We cannot remain neutral on apartheid, genocide and war crimes.”

The statement demands that Trinity College cut all ties with Israel, ultimately stressing, “We must hold our College to account”. The statement further concludes, “Trinity students refuse to be complicit, and College management must listen to our demands”. 

The University Times has reached out to a college spokesperson for comment.

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