Hotovely (right) with former Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuWikimedia Commons

Hardline Israeli ambassador, Tzipi Hotovely, will speak at the Cambridge Union this Tuesday (08/02), Varsity can report.

Hotovely, appointed ambassador to the UK in June 2020 by former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has described herself as a “religious rightwinger” and supports the annexation of Palestinian land. She rejects Palestinian claims to any part of the West Bank, Gaza or East Jerusalem, saying in a 2015 speech that Israel had tried too hard to appease the world: “This land is ours. All of it is ours.”

The invitation has caused “dismay” among some students.

Cambridge’s Palestinian society (PalSoc) have denounced the event in a co-authored an open letter.

Currently signed by over 1100, the letter says “As members of the Cambridge University and other institutions and societies…we condemn this invitation, and affirm that this far-right representative of an apartheid regime is not welcome at our university and in our city.

“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 open letter has also been signed by a number of other student groups including Cambridge Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), University of Cambridge Islamic Society, Clare College Music Society and Bread Theatre and Film Company, as well as several pro Palestinian groups outside the University.

The open letter encourages members of the Cambridge Union to boycott the event and instead join a demonstration taking place outside the building.

Jewish groups have also shunned Hotovely in the past. In April 2021, Noam, a liberal Zionist youth movement, boycotted an event she was due to speak at over to her “inflammatory statements.”


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The Cambridge Union told Varsity that “Members, of course, retain the right to boycott and protest; but as a free speech and debate society we would encourage them to challenge her in the chamber. Those in attendance who oppose the actions of Israel should attend and debate her in the chamber.

“We attempt to achieve an even-handed approach to the articulation of free speech, and would remind you that any reporting of this event would be journalistically irresponsible if it did not mention the fact that we hosted her Palestinian counterpart, Husam Zomlot, last term. Thus, it is clear that the Union does not have a pro-Israel or pro-Palestine position, but a pro-debate one in which we will host both sides.”

Last November Hotovely was evacuated from a debate at the London School of Economics (LSE) amid protest by pro-Palestinian activists. Footage showed the ambassador being rushed to her car by bodyguards while activists jeered and chanted “Shame on you!”

“We will not give in to thuggery and violence,” Hotovely told Ynet after the event, “The State of Israel will send its representatives to every stage.”

Husam Zomlot was due to attend a follow up event at LSE but later pulled out.