Students defend protest against Israeli ambassador at LSE

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The British Home Secretary says she was ‘disgusted’ by Tzipi Hotowli’s treatment after participating in a debate at the London School of Economics.

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Students protesting against the participation of the Israeli ambassador to the United Kingdom in a debate have defended the demonstration, as government ministers have condemned the incident.

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

Hotovely was invited by the LSE student union to participate in a debate on Middle East peace titled “Perspectives on Israel and Palestine”.

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Protesters said the ambassador had a track record of anti-Palestinian racism. They raised pro-Palestinian slogans and reprimanded the ambassador: “Aren’t you ashamed!” He also said: “Israel is a terrorist state”.

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

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

London’s Metropolitan Police said they participated in the protests and made no arrests.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss condemned the incident, writing: “Last night’s attempt to treat and silence Israel’s ambassador Tzipi Hotoveli was unacceptable.

“We believe in freedom of expression in the UK,” she said.

British Home Secretary Priti Patel also condemned the incident.

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

“I will continue to do everything I can to keep the Jewish community safe from threats, persecution and abuse.

“I have full support for the police in the investigation of this horrific incident.”

Hotovli said she “won’t be scared”.

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

‘No room for colonial amnesty’

The student union debate community over inviting the Israeli envoy faced protests on campus.

The student group LSE criticized Hotovely – a fundamentalist with links to Israel’s right-wing Likud party and the former minister’s allegations of ghetto expansion in the illegally occupied West Bank – of supporting hate speech and of “physical persecution of Palestinians”. for” contribution.

The group said Hotowli’s invitation was a “direct contradiction” to the LSE student union resolution passed in June 2021, which is “committed to ensuring that the university is free from discrimination and is active in ending the system of persecution at home and abroad.” plays a role”. As well as “establish an apartheid-free zone that does not normalize relations with any regime of racism, oppression and discrimination”.

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

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

“Freedom of speech and expression underpins everything we do at LSE,” a spokesperson said.

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

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