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February 21, 2017 5:44 pm

Israeli Embassy in Ireland Denounces Last-Minute Cancellation of Ambassador’s Speech at Trinity College Due to Protests by School’s Chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine

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Anti-Israel activists demonstrate against Israel's Ambassador to Ireland at Trinity College Dublin. Photo: Video Screenshot.

Anti-Israel activists demonstrate against Israel’s Ambassador to Ireland at Trinity College Dublin. Photo: Video Screenshot.

The Israeli Embassy in Ireland said it was “horrified” by the last-minute cancellation of a talk by Ambassador Ze’ev Boker at Trinity College Dublin on Monday — all because of a “vicious” protest outside the lecture hall by the school’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).

In a statement, the Embassy said it was “horrified” that Boker was “denied…his right to freedom of expression” by anti-Israel protesters gathered outside the theater where the lecture was set to take place.

Some 40 students and outside activists chanted slogans such as, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” and, “In our thousands, in our millions, we are all Palestinians.”  

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“These protesters chanted genocidal refrains, which call for Israel’s destruction, while barring access to the lecture theater,” the Embassy stated. Such demonstrators, it said, “obviously have no interest in helping efforts to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” but rather seek to “ignite and inflame the situation. It is a pity to see such a small and extreme group denying academic thought, exploration and discussion from an Irish audience but unfortunately these are the bullying, intimidating tactics of the BDS movement.” 

Trinity responded by expressing regret that Boker’s speech — organized by the Society for International Affairs (SOFIA) — was cancelled. Provost Patrick Prendergast stated, “This was most unfortunate and represents the antithesis of what Trinity stands for. Universities should be able to facilitate the exchange of ideas. The protesters have violated that fundamental belief.”

On Facebook, SOFIA said it was a shame that the “opportunity to facilitate discussion between students and the Israeli ambassador, in a respectful and moderated way, was lost…We maintain that free speech is for everyone, not just for those you agree with.”

Trinity SJP hailed the cancellation as a major success for BDS, posting praise on Facebook for those “who assembled to voice their support for human rights and the principles of nonviolent boycott in solidarity with Palestinian communities,” and said that their action “served as a response to the ongoing, systematic violations of human rights and international law perpetrated by the Israeli state, of which Ambassador Boker is a direct representative.”

The Trinity event was among a string of similar BDS activities in Europe and the US targeting Israeli officials. As reported by The Algemeiner last week, anti-Israel protesters at Columbia University in New York called for the elimination of the Jewish state during a speech by Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon. On Wednesday, at the University of Vienna, Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked was repeatedly heckled by BDS activists while delivering a speech.

Watch the Trinity protest below:

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