Oh no, not again – another heckler’s veto in Trinity

TCD Campanile, via WikipediaThe following headlines have caught my eye:

After Protest, Society for International Affairs Cancel Event with Israeli Ambassador (from the University Times)

and

Trinity College Dublin event involving Israeli ambassador cancelled (from the Irish Times)

Update (21 Feb 2017): Planned talk by Israeli Ambassador at Trinity College is cancelled after protests (from theJournal.ie)

I don’t have time to write a considered post about this right now, but I could not let it pass unremarked, so I will content myself for the time being with noting: oh no, not again.

Update (23 Feb 2017): The protest and cancellation garnered headlines in Israel (Algemeiner | Jerusalem Post | Jewish Press | Times of Israel here and here) and further afield (Yahoo! news – even Breibart, with typical hyperbolic misrepresentation)

The University Times updated their piece and headline: After Event with Israeli Ambassador Cancelled, Trinity Criticises “Unacceptable Attack on Free Speech”; the Irish Times ran a follow up: Trinity condemns ‘unacceptable attack’ on free speech; and the Hearld also ran a story: Anti-Israel protest is ‘antithesis of what Trinity stands for’. These pieces refer to a statement from the Provost:

Trinity College Dublin regrets attack on free speech

Dublin, Tuesday February 21st 2017 – Trinity College Dublin regrets that Israel’s ambassador to Ireland, HE Ze’ev Boker, was unable to take part in a question and answer session on Monday evening after protesters from inside and outside the university threatened to disrupt the event. The university regards what happened as an unacceptable attack on free speech.

Ambassador Boker had been due to address a student society on Monday but the event was cancelled before he arrived at the proposed venue amid security concerns. University officials had unsuccessfully tried to get the protesters to leave an area surrounding the door to a lecture theatre. The ambassador has been a regular and welcome visitor to Trinity since his appointment. He had dinner in the university earlier in the same evening and attended another event in Trinity last week.

Trinity’s Provost Patrick Prendergast criticised the protesters for preventing a guest from expressing his opinions. “This was most unfortunate and represents the antithesis of what Trinity stands for. Universities should be able to facilitate the exchange of ideas. The protesters have violated that fundamental belief. Trinity will remain a home for debate and we will do everything possible to make sure that efforts to suppress the free exchange of ideas do not succeed. I look forward to welcoming Ambassador Boker back to Trinity to speak again in the near future.

Hear! Hear!

Update (6 April 2017): from Trinity News:

Students for Justice in Palestine fined for protest at Israeli ambassador talk

College has also refused to accept a petition on behalf of the group

Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) have been fined €150 following their protest of a talk, organised by the Society for International Affairs (SoFIA), given by the Israeli ambassador to Ireland. …

One Comment

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *