Press Release 22/02/2011: Students protest Israeli ambassador’s visit to Edinburgh University

A lecture yesterday afternoon by Ron Prosor, Israel’s Ambassador to the UK, at Edinburgh University, was met with protests from within and outside the venue.

A group of 100 people, comprised of students, members of the local Palestinian community and the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, assembled outside McEwan Hall to protest the event, hosted by the Edinburgh University Politics Society. The demonstrators chanted slogans such as “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”, and “Boycott Israel”.

Despite heavy security measures, 10 student activists were able to enter the venue to lead a peaceful demonstration inside. During Prosor’s talk, the protesters stood up one by one, shouting the name of a Palestinian child that they were there to represent. All of the names said were those of children killed in Operation Cast Lead in January 2009. Each of them put tape over their mouths to signify the “silencing” and turned their backs on Prosor in a defiant symbolic protest. After about ten minutes they left the room, signalling their disgust at the invitation of a mouthpiece of a regime which had silenced so many innocent Palestinians.

After the hour-long talk, demonstrators continued to gather around the McEwan Hall and Ron Prosor had to be sneaked out a back entrance by police and security

This is the second time in the space of three weeks, that Edinburgh University students have protested the invitation of an official Israeli representative. A lecture by Ishmael Khaldi, advisor to Israel’s foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, had to be cancelled after demonstrators filled the venue.

A statement by Edinburgh SJP read “We were delighted with the turnout for the protest yesterday. Edinburgh students are playing an increasing role in the campaign to boycott Israel until they end their apartheid, colonial policies towards the occupied Palestinian people. Ron Prosor was here to spew Israeli propaganda and defend war crimes and the actions of the protesters sent him a clear message that he is not welcome at our University. We continue to be deeply disturbed by the Politics society’s decision to host such a representative However Prosor’s presence in Edinburgh yesterday only strengthens our resolve to continue the fight for the boycott of Apartheid Israel on campus.”