DAYS OF PALESTINE – More than 100 protesters gathered outside the Cambridge Union on Tuesday to express their condemnation and dismay at the debating society’s decision to platform the “far-right politician.”
Human rights and Israel’s apartheid are not up for debate, students at Cambridge University said today, after dozens rallied against Israeli ambassador to Britain Tzipi Hotovely’s visit to the university.
Ms Hotovely, who served as settlement minister under former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has previously claimed that the Nakba — the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their homes in 1948 — was an “Arab lie.”
She has also opposed Palestinian claims to the West Bank and spoken out against intermarriages between Palestinians and Jews.
Protesters staged a sit-in to block the entrance to the building where the talk was taking place, in an action separate from the organised protest, as police attempted to clear the rally.
A spokesperson from Cambridge University Palestine Solidarity Society, who did not want to be named, said the rally was called to “affirm loud and clear that this far-right representative of an apartheid regime, who has publicly expressed racism and extremist views, is not welcome to the university and the city of Cambridge.”
More than 1,200 people have signed an open letter condemning her visit.
Cambridge Union defended inviting Mr Hotovely in university newspaper Varsity, urging those who oppose Israel’s actions to “challenge and debate her in the chamber.”
But the university’s Palestine Solidarity Society spokesperson told the Morning Star: “We don’t think that someone who has committed their life to upholding a regime that is inherently oppressive should be platformed.
“Ultimately we do not support engaging with Hotovely through debate because we don’t believe that human rights and apartheid are up for discussion.”
Despite government moves to crack down on solidarity with Palestine on university campuses, the spokesperson added that the protest received support from a broad range of societies, staff and students showing “that solidarity with Palestine is strong and has momentum.”
“These things are not going to slip through. This is a cause people care deeply about and we won’t be silenced.”
It comes after students at London School of Economics protested against a visit by Ms Hotovely last year.