Students condemn the Union's invitation to HotovelyTobia Nava

Israeli ambassador Tzipi Hotovely spoke and left as planned from the Cambridge Union amid vocal demonstrators yesterday (8/2), despite rumours the event was going to be cancelled.

Activists gathered to “condemn” the ambassador’s invitation to the Union over her support for the annexation of Palestinian land and claims that the land belongs to Israel. In an open letter published last week, activists said that her invitation “legitimises a system of apartheid.”

Protesters set-up outside the Union’s back entrance and chanted “no freedom, no peace”, “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and “Cambridge Union, shame on you”, amongst others.

The now deleted tweet claiming the event had been postponedVarsity

Commenting on the protest, the ambassador said she regretted how the slogan “from the river to the sea” implied the disappearance of Israel, but acknowledged the necessity of protest in a democracy.

The protest started at 3:15pm to coincide with the arrival of the first Union members in the queue to the chamber. Due to the event’s tight security, the Union was gradually filled over the course of two hours.

The protest continued into the evening, and dispersed around 6.30pm after protesters surrounded the Ambassador’s car as she left the Union.

Early in the event, activists claimed victory in a now deleted tweet, saying that the talk might be cancelled or postponed thanks to the noise they generated.

However, while the start of the event was delayed, this was due to audiovisual issues not noise from outside.

Hotovely spoke as planned, albeit to the soundtrack of the protest.

Her much anticipated departure from the chamber caused a brief scuffle between security and demonstrators, but involved less conflict than her departure from LSE last year.

After her car left, activists dispersed, except the small group who remained to chant “Cambridge Union shame on you” at attendees leaving the chamber.