Wed. Dec 1st, 2021

Students who organized a protest against the participation of the Israeli ambassador to the UK in a debate defended the protest as government ministers condemned the incident.

Footage circulating on social media showed Tzipi Hotovely leaving a London School of Economics (LSE) building on Tuesday night with strict police protection while a group of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered outside.

Hotovely has been invited by the LSE Student Union to take part in a debate on Middle East peace entitled “Perspectives on Israel and Palestine”.

Protesters said the ambassador had a record of anti-Palestinian racism. They shouted pro-Palestinian slogans and scolded the ambassador: “You are not ashamed!” They also sang: “Israel is a terrorist state”.

A statement issued by student organizers LSE for Palestine on Wednesday said the protest was a “massive demonstration of solidarity with Palestine”.

Contrary to false reports, Hotovely did not ‘flee’ from the university; students maintained a peaceful protest throughout the evening, “the statement said, describing the Israeli ambassador as a” Nakba denier and anti-Palestinian racist. “

London’s Metropolitan Police said they attended the protest and made no arrests.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss blasted the incident, writing: “The treatment of Israeli Ambassador Tzipi Hotovely last night and the attempt to silence her was unacceptable.

“We in Britain believe in freedom of speech,” she added.

British Home Secretary Priti Patel also condemned the incident.

“Disgusted by the treatment of the Israeli ambassador to LSE last night,” she wrote on Twitter.

“I will continue to do everything possible to keep the Jewish community safe from intimidation, harassment and abuse.

“The police have my full support in the investigation into this horrific incident.”

Hotovely said she “will not be intimidated”.

“I will continue to share the Israeli story and maintain open dialogue with all sections of British society,” she wrote on Twitter.

‘No room for colonial apology’

The student union debate association had a setback on campus over the invitation of the Israeli envoy.

Student group LSE accuses Hotovely – a runner with ties to Israel’s right-wing Likud party and former minister in charge of expanding Jewish settlements in the illegally occupied West Bank – of advocating hate speech and contributing “to the material repression of Palestine ”.

The group said Hotovely’s invitation was a “direct contradiction” to the LSE student union motion approved in June 2021, which was “committed to ensuring that the university is free from discrimination and an active play a role in dismantling systems of oppression at home and abroad “. as well as “establishing an apartheid-free zone that does not normalize relations with any regime of racism, oppression and discrimination”.

“There is no room for colonial apology on our LSE campus,” the group said.

LSE said Tuesday’s debate lasted 90 minutes and Hotovely spoke, took audience questions and left on schedule, but said it would “review the processes surrounding this event to inform future planning”.

“Free speech and freedom of expression underpin everything we do at LSE,” a spokesman said.

“Students, staff and visitors are strongly encouraged to discuss and debate the most pressing issues around the world, but it must be done in a mutually respectful way.”

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