KCL Israel Society cancels event over safety concerns after speaker receives death threats

Former IDF soldier turned charity leader Ely Lassman was branded a ‘war criminal’ online

King’s College London’s Israel Society was forced to cancel an event this week where a former Israel Defence Forces (IDF) soldier was invited to speak after he received death threats.

Ely Lassman was due to speak at the panel event organised by KCL Israel Society to discuss the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Ely’s last record of military service for the IDF was in December 2017 and he now runs an educational charity called Prometheus on Campus, a “UK-based educational nonprofit focused on promoting philosophy for freedom and happiness”.


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A post shared by Ely Lassman (@ely.lassman)

He told the Jewish News that before the event was scheduled to take place “made up information” about himself was posted online, where he was described as the “embodiment of evil” and was called a “war criminal.”

The event was intended to be a small-scale discussion about the different perspectives of the conflict with Kiyah Willis as the other speaker. Kiyah posted on X (formerly Twitter) saying that she was “banned from speaking about the Israel-Gaza conflict at King’s College London” and had received death threats.

The cancelled event was intended to “focus on how to approach conflict resolution in light of Israel-Gaza” according to KCL Israel Society’s Instagram post. KCL Israel Society has said that it was shocked by the “unfathomable levels of hostility within the King’s community regarding anything remotely Israeli”.

President of the KCL Israel Society, Aurele Tobelem, said that the society had organised several meetings with the Students’ Union as well as the security team to protect the speakers for this event. However, the event was cancelled for security concerns after substantial backlash, including an Instagram post, liked by over 19,000 people, which encouraged protestors to rally outside campus during the event.

KCLSU issued a statement recognising the controversy surrounding this event, saying that the union was “in discussions with KCL to agree how best to respond to the issues raised”.

Featured image via ely.lassman on Instagram. 

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