Union announces Israeli and Palestinian Ambassadors to speak this term
Last time, there were protests
Maybe the termcard isn’t as boring as it seemed.
The Israeli Ambassador, Mark Regev, will give a 15 minute speech and spend 40 minutes answering questions next Wednesday, October 26, at 7pm.
Professor Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian Ambassador will speak on Monday November 14 and similarly give a short address and then take questions for the majority of his time. Both speakers have already appeared at the Oxford Union this year
In both cases, students will have the opportunity to ask questions of the Ambassadors. With anti-Semitism and Palestine both issues which have stirred student activism in the past few years, keen students should be aware that security will be at an all-time high.
When asked for comment, PalSoc said “We were not surprised by the announcement of the Palestinian Ambassador’s invitation to speak. This is exactly the same tactic that the Union employs year on year: they invite the Israeli Ambassador to speak but fail to provide him with an effective challenger.”
“Whilst we welcome an opportunity for a Palestinian voice to be heard, hosting him weeks after the Israeli Ambassador clearly shows that the Union have once again not made a conscious effort to challenge the Israeli Ambassador on the illegal occupation of Palestine and their grave human rights violations in the country.”
“To allow him to speak unchallenged is to deny the reality of the situation in the region. Though the Union started up communication with us about this event, they failed to respond to any of our emails and we were not informed of either Ambassador’s invite.”
In 2014 Regev’s predecessor, Daniel Taub, spoke at the Union and faced by pro-Palestine protestors. At the time, PalSoc said his presence was a “tacit endorsement” of Israeli actions. At that event, phones were confiscated and there was an eleventh-hour decision to cancel the livestream, leading to a blackout on all live media.
Last year pro-Palestinian students also protested the appearance of Yiftah Curiel, the spokesman for the Israeli embassy. Curiel spoke after an event featuring Professor Hassassian.
An anonymous Union source confirmed to The Tab that the Palestinian Ambassador was offered the chance to debate the Israeli Ambassador last year, but refused despite the Israeli Ambassador’s agreement. Two separate events were organised within the same week as a compromise.
The Tab has contacted Israel Society for comment on the announcements.