'Attack on free speech' as Irish university cancels Israel event

Trinity College Dublin condemns protest which caused cancellation of event with Israel’s ambassador to Ireland due to security concerns.

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Gary Willig,

BDS - Anti-Israel protest
BDS - Anti-Israel protest
Reuters

Trinity College Dublin expressed regret that Israel’s ambassador to Ireland, Ze’ev Boker, was unable to take part in a question and answer session on Monday evening after anti-Israel protesters threatened to disrupt the event. The university stated that the forced cancellation of the event is an unacceptable attack on free speech.

The university stated that the event had to be cancelled due to "security concerns," and that Ambassador Boker was a "regular and welcome visitor to Trinity."

Trinity’s Provost Patrick Prendergast criticized the protesters for preventing a guest from expressing his opinions. “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. Trinity will remain a home for debate and we will do everything possible to make sure that efforts to suppress the free exchange of ideas do not succeed. I look forward to welcoming Ambassador Boker back to Trinity to speak again in the near future.”

The Israeli embassy also released a statement following the cancellation of the event. The statement said that the embassy officials were “horrified by the vicious action of a group of protesters, which denied the Ambassador of Israel his right to freedom of expression at Trinity College last night," but that hey were “sure that an esteemed university such as Trinity will take the appropriate measures to deal with the instigators of last night’s protest."

Thee embassy said that the group of 40 or so protesters chanted “genocidal refrains, which call for Israel’s destruction, while barring access to the lecture theater."