The Board of Deputies of British Jews condemned the university’s actions, with Vice President Amanda Bowman saying in a statement, “We are dismayed that Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev has been forced to cancel his engagement at City, University of London today based on the advice of the Metropolitan Police.”
“The fact that City, University of London and City Students’ Union refused to guarantee the safety of the ambassador and students on campus by implementing basic security measures is unacceptable,” she added.
“We are committed to the principles of free speech and the belief that universities should be safe spaces for all students,” she stated. “We will be taking this up with the university as a matter of urgency together with the Union of Jewish Students.”
According to the UK’s Jewish Chronicle, the UJS and Cass Israel Society also issued a statement, calling the university’s decision “disgraceful.”
“Israeli diplomats have spoken on campus more than 150 times over the past four years, where all host institutions have managed to balance freedom of speech with the legitimate right to peaceful protest. It seems City have deliberately failed in their obligation to do both,” they said.
The groups connected the incident to rising anti-Jewish sentiment at City University, saying it was part of a “series of developments” that “have caused Jewish students to feel threatened.”
“We are appalled by the levels of intimidation and bigotry to which Jewish students have been subjected, and today’s cancellation only reinforces this already unacceptable situation,” they stated.
The university had no comment on the incident.