London (The Inside Palestine)- Over 750 pro-Palestine advocates have expressed their dismay at the Cambridge Union’s decision to host Israeli envoy to the UK, Tzipi Hotovely, saying this “far-right representative of an apartheid regime is not welcome at our university and in our city.”
In an open letter, signed by more than 750 people, and initiated by the student-led Cambridge Palestine Solidarity Society (PalSoc), the pro-Palestinian activists, who are members of the Cambridge University and other institutions and societies, have condemned the decision of the Cambridge Union to host the Israeli ambassador to the UK, Tzipi Hotovely, to give a monologue on 8th February.
The undersigned stated that they consider Tzipi Hotovely’s appearance in Cambridge to be “profoundly antithetical to our shared values of human rights, freedom and equality.”
“There is nothing to be gained from hearing or challenging the extremist representative of an apartheid state in a debating chamber – we know what Hotovely says.”
“Events such as this serve the sole purpose of legitimating a system of apartheid through the prestigious hosting of its representatives within this country’s civil society institutions.”
The signatories called on everyone to oppose the hosting of “this racist representative of a racist regime in our university and our city,” and urged Cambridge Union members to boycott the event “in solidarity with the people of Palestine under occupation and in refugees camps around the world, whose rights to freedom and self-determination Hotovely has dedicated herself to eliminating permanently, and the Palestinian students who would feel unsafe due to her presence.”
They noted that “Cambridge students have a proud tradition of opposing PR visits to our university of representatives of imperialism and apartheid – demonstrating against the visit of the US Ambassador in 1967 during the Vietnam War, picketing the appearance at the Cambridge Union of the Ambassador for Apartheid South Africa in 1983, and in recent years protesting the presence at the Union of previous Israeli ambassadors Daniel Taub and Mark Regev.”
“Israeli ambassadors face regular protest at British universities today, just as representatives of Israel’s fellow apartheid state in South Africa once did,” the activists said.
The activists said they “stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine and declare that the representative in this country of the state that oppresses them, Tzipi Hotovely, is not welcome here.”
2021’s Rushing Out Of London School of Economics
In December 2021, Hotovely was rushed out of the London School of Economics after a large pro-Palestine protest formed outside condemning her appearance at a debate forum.
Video footage taken from the scene and shared on social media showed security guards rushing Tzipi Hotovely into a vehicle, while a group of pro-Palestine activists called out to her, “Aren’t you ashamed?”
Israeli ambassador to U.K. Tzipi Hotovely was rushed out of the London School of Economics last night after a pro-Palestine protest formed outside condemned her appearance at a debate forum there.
Security guards can be seen rushing Hotovely into a vehicle.#FreePalestine pic.twitter.com/cTMzpuroLu
— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) November 10, 2021
The demonstration was led by a coalition of pro-Palestinian student groups from several universities in the British capital.
The LSE Student Union, which hosted the event titled “A New Era in the Middle East: Perspectives on Israel and Palestine” in collaboration with the university’s Debate Society, released a statement acknowledging the controversy of bringing Hotovely to campus and the “distress” expressed by certain student groups.
They conveyed their commitment to equal debate saying “there must be an appropriate challenge of the views held by speakers,” while also acknowledging their inability to “guarantee complete safety.”
The event which the Israel’s UK ambassador atteneded drew widespread opposition from pro-Palestinian and other groups on campus for “platforming racism.”
The protesters said that Hotovely had “advocated for settler colonialism, engaged in Islamophobic rhetoric and has perpetuated anti-Palestinian racism.”
An open letter written by the LSESU Palestine Society called to cancel the event rejecting the ambassador’s visit and expressing their concern at normalizing a debate with an “avowed anti-Palestinian racist, Islamophobe, self-proclaimed ‘religious right –winger.’”
“We made sure to let Tzipi, LSE SU and LSE SU Debating Society know that war criminals, islamophobes and anti-Palestinian deniers are not welcome on this campus!” LSESU Palestine Society said after the incident happened.
“We must keep this momentum going to make sure events like these never happen again.
Palestinian human rights are not up for debate and we will never stop resisting and agitating for a free Palestine and the liberation of Palestinians from the settler-colonial israeli apartheid regime.”
“We also denounce the presence of police on campus and acts of assault to students.
We must keep protesting for cops off campus and for LSE to divest from all companies complicit in Apartheid!”
THANK YOU SO MUCH EVERYONE FOR COMING OUT AND FOR SHOWING ALL YOUR RAGE AND SOLIDARITY FOR PALESTINIANS! 🇵🇸❤️
We made sure to let Tzipi, LSE SU and LSE SU Debating Society know that war criminals, islamophobes and anti-Palestinian deniers are not welcome on this campus! pic.twitter.com/cvWCJJfheR
— LSE for Palestine (@LSEforPalestine) November 9, 2021
Tzipi Hotovely: An Advocate Of A “Greater Israel”
Hotovely’s appointment as ambassador to the UK in 2020 caused controversy – with almost 2,000 British Jews signing a petition organised by Na’amod calling on the UK government to reject the appointment.
Hotovely is a former Israeli settlement affairs minister, a proud supporter of Israeli settler colonialism, and an open advocate of a ‘Greater Israel’, claiming that “all the territory that is west of Jordan River can only be [held] by one nation: the Jewish people”.
In a 2015 speech on her appointment as deputy foreign minister, she rejected a two-state solution, saying: “This land is ours. All of it is ours. We did not come here to apologise for that.”
As Settlements Minister in 2020, she was directly involved in the continued dispossession of Palestinians and annexation of Palestinian land in the occupied territories. She also called the occupation of the West Bank ‘a myth’.
Hotovely has also been a vocal opponent of interracial relationships. In 2011, Hotovely extolled the necessity of education “to prevent Jewish women from forging life connections with non-Jews,” calling for a “struggle against assimilation”, abhorring “mixed families”, and claiming that “[t]he fact that girls reach a state of intermarriage testifies to the fact that the education system was absent.”
Further, Hotovely invited the far-right Kahanist anti-miscegenation organisation Lehava (whose marches in East Jerusalem and chants of “Death to Arabs” have attracted infamy) to address the Knesset, stating that: “it is important to me to check systems to prevent mixed marriages, and Lehava are the most suitable for this.”
Hotovely has repeatedly endeavoured to erase the history and existence of Palestinians: castigating Arab MKs as “thieves of history” and the Palestinians as without a history, and while Ambassador to the UK has denied the Nakba – the premeditated ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in (and since) 1948 – as an “Arab lie” and a “made up story”.
In 2020, she said she hope that the UK would relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, after the U.S. embassy was relocated in May 2018, describing this move as a “good role model.”
“The whole myth of making the Middle East a dangerous place by moving the embassy to Jerusalem is just not correct. Look at the reality: The Middle East was never more flourishing in terms of peace agreements,” she said.
Hotovely also questioned the U.K. Foreign Office’s use of the term, “Occupied Palestinian Territories.” Such statements, she said, “don’t reflect reality.”
“Settlements are legal according to international law. This is the Israeli policy about it; this is the Foreign Ministry’s interpretation of international law,” said Hotovely, dismissing the idea of settlements being in breach of international law.
In 2021, during a ceremony celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, which signalled British support for the creation of the occupation state of Israel, Hotovely claimed the occupation state gives equal rights to both Palestinians and Israelis.
In December 2020, Hotovely appeared at an online event hosted by the Board of Deputies (BoD), the UK’s main Jewish community organisation, where she described the expulsion of 700,000 Palestinians in the 1948 war – known as the Nakba (“catastrophe”) in Arabic – as a “very popular Arab lie”.