Dozens of protesters turned up at short notice on Friday evening to protest outside the Law School at the London School of Economics, where Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh was due to take part in a talk about the ‘Conflict’ in the Middle East.
Activists leafletted attendees and held up a series of signs explaining the issues, keeping up a constant stream of chants for more than an hour as visitors arrived.
Jordan has voiced condemnation of the genocide of Palestinians in Gaza, but the government actually signed a controversial multi-billion-dollar deal to buy gas from the Leviathan field off the west coast of Israel in 2016. This occurred in secret and without parliamentary approval.
Protesters are also angry that Jordan is actually helping Israel to bypass the Houthi blockade in the Red Sea by signing memorandums of agreement to allow cargo land routes through Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
In Jordan itself there is increasing repression against pro-Palestine protests. Its cybercrime legislation has been condemned by the United Nations and human rights groups, large protests have been tear-gassed, and dozens of civilians arrested in recent months.
Jordan receives millions of dollars in US ‘aid’ and weapons every year, and has recently permitted the United States to station several new F-15 warplanes in its territory, as part of a US military build-up in the Middle East.
The London School of Economics also comes under fire, because despite its supposedly ethical investment policies, according to Palestine Solidarity Campaign research it still holds more than £3,000,000 in companies (including major arms manufacturers) which stand to profit directly from the Israeli attack on Gaza.
Friday’s protest was organised by students, alumni, staff, and wider Arab diaspora. Around 20 police attended the small demonstration and filmed activists, but no arrests were reported.