‘Apartheid’ Israel’s envoy Hotovely ‘not welcome’ in Cambridge, say students

Israeli ambassador to the UK Tzipi Hotovely leaves 10 Downing Street in London (Wiktor Szymanowicz - Anadolu Agency)

Middle East Monitor  /  February 4, 2022

An upcoming visit to Cambridge University by the extreme right-wing Israeli Ambassador to the UK, Tzipi Hotovely, has sparked outrage amongst student groups. The 42-year-old has been invited to address Cambridge Union’s debating society on Tuesday to deliver a “monologue”.

Citing Cambridge University’s “proud tradition” of opposing racism and apartheid, the Cambridge Palestine Solidarity Society (PalSoc) has co-written an open letter expressing “dismay” at the decision to invite Hotovely.

In the letter, PalSoc catalogued Hotovely’s many racist supremacist views which the students insist should have disqualified her from ever appearing at Cambridge University.

“Hotovely is a proud supporter of Israeli settler colonialism, and an open advocate of a ‘Greater Israel’,” said the letter mentioning Hotovely’s extremist view. This is the mainstream standard position of the Israeli Likud led by Israel’s longest serving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as many other political parties on the right.

While deputy foreign minister, Hotovely asserted that the entire West Bank belongs to Israelis alone – “This land is ours. All of it is ours. We did not come here to apologize for that.” The letter pointed out that as Settlements Minister in 2020, she was directly involved in the continued dispossession of Palestinians and annexation of Palestinian land in the occupied territories.

“Hotovely has repeatedly endeavoured to erase the history and existence of Palestinians,” the letter continues, before highlighting the numerous occasions where she publicly made racist anti-Palestinian remarks. Arab members of the Israeli Knesset have been denounced as “thieves of history” by Hotovely and Palestinians were dismissed as a people without a history. Early into her appointment as ambassador to the UK, Hotovely denied the Nakba – the premeditated ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. She has called it an “Arab lie” and a “made up story”.

Citing leading human rights groups including the most recent report by Amnesty, the letter argued that Hotovely has “dedicated her life” in pursuit of the forcible dispossession of Palestinians to make way for illegal Israeli settlements and in the service of an apartheid system of racial domination.

The letter insisted that given Hotovely’s extreme racist politics, and enthusiastic support for and involvement with the Israeli state’s practices of settler-colonial expansion, dispossession and ethnic cleansing, her appearance in Cambridge “profoundly” undermined the shared values of human rights, freedom and equality.

“There is nothing to be gained from hearing or challenging the extremist representative of an apartheid state in a debating chamber,” the letter said before mentioning Cambridge’s “proud” tradition in opposing visits by representatives of “imperialism and apartheid.”

In December Hotovely’s appearance at the London School of Economics (LSE) sparked a major controversy. Students protesting her appearance were slammed as anti-Sematic by the mainstream media, senior members of parliament and pro-Israeli groups. An investigation by LSE confirmed that the student had done nothing wrong confirming what many believed at the time that the reaction was feigned to stoke outrage against pro-Palestinian activists.