Controversial Israeli ambassador to speak at Cambridge Union

Hotovely (right) with former Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuWikimedia Commons

Hardline Israeli Ambassador Tzipi Hotovely will speak at the Cambridge Union on Tuesday (08/02), University can report.

Hotovely, appointed ambassador to the UK in June 2020 by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has described herself as a “religious right” and supports the annexation of Palestinian lands. She rejects Palestinian claims to any part of the West Bank, Gaza or East Jerusalem, saying in a 2015 speech that Israel had tried too hard to appease the world: “This land is ours. It’s all up to us.

The invitation caused “consternation” among some students.

The Palestinian Society of Cambridge (PalSoc) denounced the event in a co-authored open letter.

Currently signed by more than 1,100 people, the letter reads: “As members of the University of Cambridge and other institutions and societies… we condemn this invitation and affirm that this far-right representative of a regime of apartheid is not welcome in our university and in our city.

“There is nothing to be gained by hearing or challenging the extremist representative of an apartheid state in a debating chamber – we know what Hotovely is saying. Events like this have the sole purpose of legitimizing an apartheid system through the prestigious reception of its representatives within the institutions of civil society in this country.

The open letter was also signed by a number of other student groups, including Cambridge Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), University of Cambridge Islamic Society, Clare College Music Society and Bread Theater and Film Company, as well as several pro groups. -Palestinians outside the university. .

The open letter encourages Cambridge Union members to boycott the event and join a protest taking place outside the building.

Jewish groups have also avoided Hotovely in the past. In April 2021, Noam, a liberal Zionist youth movement, boycotted an event at which she was due to speak about her “incendiary statements”.

The Cambridge Union said University that “members, of course, retain the right to boycott and protest; but as a society of free speech and debate, we encourage them to challenge it in the House. Those present who oppose Israel’s actions should be present and debate her in the chamber.

“We try to achieve an unbiased approach to the articulation of freedom of expression, and remind you that any reporting on this event would be journalistically irresponsible if it did not mention the fact that we hosted his Palestinian counterpart, Husam Zomlot, last term. . Thus, it is clear that the Union does not have a pro-Israeli or pro-Palestinian position, but a pro-debate position in which we will welcome both sides.

Last November, Hotovely was kicked out of a debate at the London School of Economics (LSE) amid protests from pro-Palestinian activists. Footage showed the ambassador being rushed into her car by bodyguards while activists scoffed and chanted “Shame on you!”

“We will not give in to brutality and violence,” Hotovely said ynet after the event, “the State of Israel will send its representatives to each stage”.

Husam Zomlot was due to attend a follow-up event at the LSE, but later pulled out.

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