Historian Liam Kennedy, an emeritus professor at the university’s School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics, attended a pro-Palestine protest in Belfast to bring his message to wider attention.
On Saturday he brandished an ‘end Iran-Hamas collusion’ placard outside the university, where a march began at noon from its gates to the US consulate in Stranmillis, roughly one mile away.
The march, like the majority of others in recent weeks, was promoted by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and asked marchers to bring teddy bears to leave at the gates of the consulate in memory of children killed in Gaza.
The march was “to highlight and condemn US complicity with the war crimes Israel is currently carrying out in Gaza”.
It was partly a reaction to a vote by the UN General Assembly on October 27, when members of the UN voted in favour of a motion aimed at “condemning all acts of violence aimed at Palestinian and Israeli civilians, including all acts of terrorism and indiscriminate attacks” and calling for “an immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities”.
It was passed 120 in favour to 14 against with 45 abstentions, with the USA voting against and the UK abstaining.
In a message explaining his rationale, Prof Kennedy told the News Letter: “Fine, let’s protest about American collusion, bearing in mind this can have positive as well as negative implications. But let us also protest the link between Iran and Hamas.
“The theocratic regime of Iran crushes its own young Iranian women, it persecutes and sometimes murders gay people, and it arms Islamist terror groups in the Middle East. Hamas implements much the same policies in Gaza.
“We should not be silent about violations of international humanitarian law by the discredited Israeli leadership, but we might also acknowledge the existential crisis it faces in dealing with Hamas.”
Author Ruth Dudley Edwards praised his presence, hailing him for “challenging groupthink”.