herald

Thursday 27 April 2017

Anti-Israel protest is 'antithesis of what Trinity stands for'

Patrick Prendergast
Patrick Prendergast

Israel's ambassador to Ireland will again be invited to speak at Trinity College Dublin after protests forced the cancellation of a talk due to take place this week.

Ambassador Ze'ev Boker had been due to speak on Monday, on foot of an invitation from the college's Society for International Affairs.

However, after about 40 protesters appeared outside the event, a decision was made to call it off.

Collective

It is understood the protesters comprised of both students and non-students of the college.

A garda spokesman said a "collective decision" was taken that the event at the college arts block should be called off. He confirmed that no arrests had been made.

The Herald has learned that Mr Boker will be invited to talk again in a more secure setting.

In a statement, the college hit out at protesters for denying the right of the ambassador to speak.

"Ambassador Boker had been due to address a student society on Monday, but the event was cancelled before he arrived at the proposed venue amid security concerns," it said.

"University officials had unsuccessfully tried to get the protesters to leave an area surrounding the door to a lecture theatre."

Trinity's Provost, Patrick Prendergast, criticised the protesters for preventing a guest from expressing his opinions.

"This was most unfortunate and represents the antithesis of what Trinity stands for," he said.

"Universities should be able to facilitate the exchange of ideas.

"The protesters have violated that fundamental belief," he added.

Horrified

A statement from the Israeli embassy said it was "horrified" by the action of the protesters and said they "obviously have no interest" in helping efforts to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"It is a pity to see such a small and extreme group denying academic thought, exploration and discussion from an Irish audience," it said.

"We thank the university for its expression of support and sympathy, and the ambassador looks forward to visiting Trinity College after another invitation from a society on campus," it added.

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