Israeli ambassador Tzipi Hotovely said she “will not be intimidated’’ after having been evacuated by bodyguards from a debating event at the London School of Economics as protestors swarmed her car.
Hotovely was invited by the LSE to speak at a debating society but was met with fierce opposition from student activists who were outraged she had been invited.
The pro-Palestinian protesters targeted the ambassador over her position on issues such as the Israeli settlements on the West Bank. They chanted: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and cheered the Palestinian flag.
The abuse continued online with one post on Twitter, from an account called ‘LSEclasswar’ said: “Whoever smashes the Ambassador car window (Lincoln’s Inn Field) gets pints. Let’s f**king frighten her.”
“Some of the people there were using violence and were trying to intimidate me and what I represent, which is a democratic country in the Middle East, a great ally and friend of the UK,” she told LBC.
“They want to prevent this very legitimate voice from [being heard]. We won’t allow, and the British government won’t allow those people to succeed in what they are trying to achieve.
“The truth is they failed, because the lecture was taking place and instead of having photos of the ambassador not attending, they have the British government supporting me and condemning them.”
She added: “We will continue to perform in every British campus. They will never give us the feeling that we are being intimidated.”
Bruitish Home Secretary Priti Patel tweeted that she was “disgusted by the treatment” of the ambassador, adding: “Antisemitism has no place in our universities or our country.”
The Board of Deputies of British Jews called for those “who exceeded the bounds of peaceful protest” to be disciplined by LSE and prosecuted by the police if necessary.
”The bullies will not win,” it said.
In a statement, an LSE spokesperson said: “Free speech and freedom of expression underpins everything we do at LSE. Students, staff and visitors are strongly encouraged to discuss and debate the most pressing issues around the world, but this must be in a mutually respectful manner. Intimidation or threats of violence are completely unacceptable. We are aware of some threats of violence made on social media around this event. Any LSE students identified as being involved in making such threats will face disciplinary action. We will be reviewing the processes around this event to inform future planning.”