Guest Lecturer Shouted Down by Violent, Anti-Israel Protesters on London Campus: Invite Me Back for Stand on Free Speech
The former Shin Bet chief whose lecture at a King’s College London student event earlier this month sparked a violent anti-Israel protest requested to be asked back, the UK’s Jewish Chronicle reported on Wednesday.
Ami Ayalon, previously head of Israel’s internal security service and currently a peace activist and fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute, was referring to the January 19 event, co-sponsored by the KCL and London School of Economics Israel Societies, which – as The Algemeiner reported — was disrupted by chants of “Free Palestine,” the throwing of chairs, the breaking of a window, the setting off of fire alarms and a physical assault on one of the organizers.
According to the JC, Ayalon said he should be invited “as soon as possible to show that a person like me can give his speech and open it to a debate… The response should be to show you can do it. In England, you can create such an event that will not be violent and the speaker will have the floor to present his ideas and everyone will be able to oppose his ideas and respond.”
Though Ayalon also said that “the idea is not to find out whom should be blamed,” the Metropolitan Police is investigating the incident and searching for its perpetrators. This investigation is still ongoing despite the presence of security guards on the premises, cellphone cameras documenting the disturbance and the arrival of about a dozen additional police officers to the scene while it was happening.
Ayalon concluded by saying, “Once it is freedom of speech on the line, it is probably more important to come and speak. I believe it is your [Britain’s] democracy that you will have to defend.”