Response from Andrew Collingwood

Dear Editor

In response to your story of 13 February, I would like to reiterate my regret that one of the 246 pictures of York Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s public activities posted to the Facebook group has caused offence.

When I found out from the University that this image was causing offence I immediately removed this picture and made it clear that I do not support any anti-Semitic displays and would not have posted the picture if it had occurred to me that it would cause offence. To be clear, this image was not on a University website or uploaded through the University network. The image was clearly found by an individual searching for a reason to label me an anti-Semite. I regard this as the latest move in a campaign to harass me at work because of my connection to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

When I saw the Nouse headline on Friday evening I was deeply offended and upset by the accusation that I was a racist. I am a member of the York Palestine Solidarity Campaign as a private individual. The York Palestine Solidarity Campaign is a non-racist organisation which in no way espouses anti-semitism.

I have spent many years campaigning against racism and anti-semitism in York, and helped launch the York Unity group in 2004 to campaign against racism and the BNP in York. Anyone who knows me will vouch for my commitment to tackling racism and vouch for my belief in tackling harassment, in whatever form it takes.

To be clear, Harassment advisors are individuals at the University who have volunteered to provide confidential assistance to anybody concerned about harassment. I am not carrying out the role for personal gain but to assist anyone who feels they are harassed, which is a cause I am passionate about. I am quite capable of offering this advice to anyone who comes to me, as I am there to provide advice and not make a judgement on the accusation.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Collingwood