Exactly one week after Israel Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely’s speech was canceled by Hillel House at Princeton University due to pressure from the Alliance for Jewish Progressives (AJP), Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis was welcomed Wednesday at Hillel House at UCLA.
Minister Akunis arrived on the occasion of a special event, organized by Limmud FSU educational organization, to mark the anniversary of Leonard Cohen's death, and spoke at the opening of the exhibition “Leonard Cohen and Judaism”, initiated by Limmud FSU founder Chaim Chesler.
The anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) has been actively involved in UCLA, which has led to a number of violent incidents among students in the past few years, and to lengthy discussions regarding the legitimacy of the movement within the academic institutions across United States.
"Leonard Cohen was very attached to Judaism and Israel, a bond that became stronger especially after the great tragedy of the Yom Kippur War," stated Akunis in his speech to the participants, "So beyond my personal love for this legendary singer, I am excited to be here, in Los Angeles, the city where he was active and passed away exactly one year ago, to launch the exhibition on his Jewish identity.”
Akunis’ visit to UCLA comes a week after the Hillel organization at Princeton University, which had invited Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely to lecture to students, abruptly canceled the lecture at the last minute, following pressure by the Alliance of Jewish Progressives.
Hotovely said in response that "the cancellation of my lecture at Princeton attests to a deep and profound crisis of values. A liberal dictatorship is being conducted that actually prevents American students from hearing an official representative of the Israeli government."
"The reality in which a variety of opinions is not permitted to be heard on campus is a fatal blow to academic freedom and a violation of freedom of thought. Instead of giving the young American an opportunity to hear a variety of opinions, a narrow mindset prevents him from doing so," added the deputy minister.