UK Students Chant ‘From the River to the Sea’ to Protest Former Israeli Deputy Prime Minister
Fifty student protestors chanted “From the river to the sea” outside the Cambridge Union on Wednesday, during a talk by former Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor.
Meridor was invited to the Union by Pinsker Centre, a London based think tank, according to the Jewish Chronicle. In the days leading up to the event, he was condemned as a “war criminal” and “torturer” by several student societies and universities.
In a statement, the Pinsker Centre noted that the demonstration occurred on the same day as a terrorist attack in Jerusalem and said it represented an assault on free speech.
“It is sickening to hear chants used by the Hamas terrorist organisation being used to shut down free speech at one of the Britain’s leading universities,” a spokesperson said. “This is not the first time we have seen such protests and we are proud that the Cambridge Union and other societies have stood by their invitation and not given in to pressure from fringe extremists.”
The Cambridge Union also issued a statement affirming pledging to commit to its “founding principle of free speech.”
“The union’s role is to create a safe space in which to discuss difficult topics and provide members with the opportunity to cross examine them,” it said. “The format of our speaker events offers members a unique opportunity to directly question powerful and high profile figures.”
Wednesday’s protest was not the first time an Israeli official was met with hostility from UK students.
In November 2021, Israeli Ambassador to the UK Tzipi Hotovely had to be evacuated from the London School of Economics after being confronted by anti-Israel protestors. Footage from the incident showed Hotovely being rushed out of the building as protesters swarmed her car and jostled with security, amid cries of “shame on you!” and other chants.