A talk by Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev at City, University of London on Wednesday night has been shelved after concerns over security.
Jewish students in the City and Cass Israel Society said they were “appalled” that the envoy was forced to cancel and accused the university of “refusing basic security requirements” as outlined by the police.
In a joint statement with the Union of Jewish Students, the society said: “Israeli diplomats have spoken on campus more than 150 times over the past four years, where all host institutions have managed to balance freedom of speech with the legitimate right to peaceful protest. It seems City have deliberately failed in their obligation to do both.”
Regev and his team have spoken at dozens of universities already this year, with pro-Palestinian demonstrations such as those at Queen’s University Belfast largely peaceful, but there had been warnings of trouble at City, where students passed an Israel boycott motion earlier this year.
“The past few years have seen a series of events and developments at City that have caused Jewish students to feel threatened,” said the society and union in a joint statement on Wednesday afternoon.
“We are appalled by the levels of intimidation and bigotry to which Jewish students have been subjected, and today’s cancellation only reinforces this already unacceptable situation.”
Board of Deputies Vice President Amanda Bowman said: “We are dismayed”, adding that “the fact that City, University of London and City Students’ Union refused to guarantee the safety of the ambassador and students on campus by implementing basic security measures is unacceptable.
“We are committed to the principles of free speech and the belief that universities should be safe spaces for all students. We will be taking this up with the university as a matter of urgency together with the Union of Jewish Students.”
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