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September 13, 2017 5:15 pm

Israeli Embassy Condemns ‘Antisemitic Nature’ of Boycott Conference at Dublin’s Trinity College

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Trinity College Dublin. Photo: www.tcd.ie.

The Israeli Embassy in Dublin denounced on Wednesday “the antisemitic nature” of a conference on academic boycotts of the Jewish state that was held at Trinity College in the Irish capital earlier this week.

The two-day event, titled “Freedom of Speech and Higher Education: The Case of the Academic Boycott of Israel,” featured speakers including Steven Salaita, a Palestinian-American academic who once tweeted that Zionists were “transforming ‘antisemitism’ from something horrible into something honorable since 1948.”

Salaita defended that tweet and others during his keynote speech on Monday, and further accused Israel of implementing a “systematic, deliberate program of ethnic cleansing” and going on a “killing spree” in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014. He also emphasized that the ideal of academic freedom should not take precedence over pro-Palestinian activism.

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Orli Weitzman — deputy ambassador at the Israeli Embassy in Dublin — told The Algemeiner in response to the event that she was “concerned that a universal value such as freedom of speech has been hijacked in order to promote hatred and discrimination. The keynote speaker and the agenda reveals the antisemitic nature of this conference.”

“We are confident that the nature of this conference does not reflect the views of the majority of students or staff at Trinity College nor that of the Irish government and the Irish people,” she added.

The student government at Trinity College Dublin rejected a motion in April calling for a “college-wide boycott of the state of Israel.”

Salaita gave a public talk in Dublin on Tuesday, which was coordinated by the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Academics for Palestine. He was scheduled to speak at Limerick on Wednesday evening.

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