Israeli activist Hen Mazzig returns to UCL after violent 2016 demo
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Israeli activist Hen Mazzig returns to UCL after violent 2016 demo

Former soldier said the university 'didn't want to publicise the event' and called for a more open debate next time

Jack Mendel is the Online Editor at the Jewish News.

Anti-Israel protesters outside the Hen Mazzig speech
Anti-Israel protesters outside the Hen Mazzig speech

A former Israeli soldier, whose appearance at a London campus back in 2016 sparked violent scenes, returned to speak at the university this week.

Hen Mazzig spoke at University College, London (UCL), but was critical of the university for not making the event more public.

After a disciplinary probe into the clashes found fault on both sides, UCL invited him to return under very tight security, making the event ticketed and only open to students.

Mazzig told Jewish News, after speaking to roughly 60 students about his role as a former humanitarian officer in the IDF, that “the university didn’t want to publicise the event. They didn’t want another incident like 2016.

“That’s something I protested. I told them that’s not the right way to go to celebrate free speech on campus and show they are able to allow free speech and protect Jewish students.”

Although thankful for being invited, he said he was unhappy the event took place “behind closed doors with very intense security, and with a guest list that was screened in advance”.

He added, that “until an hour before the event, I didn’t even know where the event was going
to be”.

In a statement following the event, the university said  it was a “demonstration of our commitment to freedom of speech.”

Pro-Israel students demonstrated with Israeli flags for the event
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