Student bursary pulled in protest against College commitment to divest from Israel

Cousin of Irish film director Lenny Abrahamson withdrew the bursary saying that Trinity has become a “no-go zone for Jews”. 

The Maurice Abrahamson Bursary, a law scholarship for disadvantaged students, has been withdrawn following College’s commitment to divest from Israel.

Dr Edwin Abrahamson, a UK-based consultant paediatrician who helped to establish the bursary in memory of his late father, said that College has “yielded to mob rule” in its decision to divest, according to the Irish Times.

In a letter to Provost Linda Doyle, Abrahamson added that Trinity has become a “no-go zone for Jews, with terrorist flags flying openly, racist placards and a culture of fear to prevail”.

“There is complete shock in our community”.

The bursary was set up by Abrahamson and his mother last year, with three inaugural recipients announced in November.

Abrahamson said that the “terrorist flag” he was referring to was the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a flag waved by students during last weeks

Encampment run by Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) and Trinity BDS.

Abrahamson has also said that the rhetoric used by student protesters in recent months has been “pure anti-Semitism”.

“The university not only took no action, but rewarded them and gave in to all their demands. No duty of care has been demonstrated towards its Jewish students or donors”.

“This embarrasses the pluralistic spirit of the university” going on to say how his fathers name could no longer be associated with College as a result.

In a statement to Trinity News president-elect of TCDSU Jenny Magure said that Abrahamson’s comments dismissed “the tireless work Jewish students have contributed to not just TCD BDS, but in all campaigns in our union”.

“After a decade-long grassroots effort from students of multiple faiths, backgrounds and experiences, TCD has committed to cut ties with Israel.”

“The encampment was peaceful and safe throughout, focused on the anti-Zionist and anti-colonial demands of the worldwide BDS movement”, she added.

“Our union is one against apartheid, settler-colonial and ethno-nationalism, always. Israeli universities have been complicit in all of these things”.

“There should be no ‘pluralism’ or ‘both sides’ when one side enables the genocide, occupation and ethnic-cleansing of another”.

Maguire concluded: “Communication with every group in college is important to me” and how she has already begun “reaching out to numerous groups for when I start my term this summer”.

Last week College outlined plans to divest from all Israeli institutions which are active in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and also companies which appear on the UN Blacklist by June.

This decision by College was made following the unprecedented victory of the encampment by TCDSU and Trinity BDS.

Last Friday, students at University College Dublin (UCD) established their own encampment on their university campus.

The protesters are demanding that the university cuts its ties with Israel over its ongoing genocidal campaign in Gaza.

Last week also saw University College Cork (UCC) agree to divest from Israel institutions in the wake of threats of escalation by its students’ union in a public letter which called on the college to “to take action on the ongoing genocide being faced by the Palestinian people at the hands of Israel”.

Since October 7, 35,091 Palestinians are estimated to have been killed with a further 78,827 wounded due to Israel’s assault on Gaza.

College, TDCSU and Trinity BDS have been contacted for further comment.

Aoibhinn Clancy

Aoibhínn Clancy is the Deputy News Editor of Trinity News and is currently in her Junior Sophister Year studying History and Political Science.