Belfast Telegraph

QUB refuses to withdraw invite to Israeli Ambassador - saying invite also issued to Palestinian Ambassador

Mark Regev, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom (Yui Mok/PA)
Mark Regev, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom (Yui Mok/PA)
Gareth Cross

By Gareth Cross

Queen's University have rejected calls to withdraw an invitation to the Israeli Ambassador to the United Kingdom to speak at an event on Tuesday.

The Queen's Student Union President Connor Veighey and People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll have both called for the invitation to Mark Regev to be rescinded.

Mr Regev is set to give a talk to Masters students who study subjects related to politics and conflict resolution as part of a workshop on October 16.

The Belfast Palestine Solidarity Campaign are holding a protest against the visit from 12:30pm to 2pm at the QUB Human Rights Centre.

A QUB spokesperson has said that they have also issued an invitation to the Palestinian Ambassador to the UK Manuel Hassassian to attend a similar event and hope to welcome him in the near future.

"Universities play an important role in society as places of debate and discussion where ideas can be tested without fear of control, where students learn to challenge ideas and think for themselves, and where rationality underpins the pursuit of knowledge," the spokesperson said.

"Queen's permits freedom of thought and expression, within a framework of respect for the rights of other persons, and Academic Freedom is enshrined as a guiding principle in the University’s Charter and Statutes."

Student Union President Connor Veighey issued a statement on behalf of the union saying that they recognised "the continued suffering of the Palestinian people" and wanted to "highlight the injustices inflicted upon them by Israeli occupation".

"This event highlights a blatant disregard of the university's commitment to equality and social justice," he said.

Mr Veighey said that the event would "normalise the actions of the Israeli government".

The union are planning to meet with the University to discuss the issue.

West Belfast MLA Gerry Carroll will be in attendance at the protest on Tuesday and called on others to come out and support it.

"Not only is Mark Regev the ambassador to a state that practices apartheid on a daily basis and routinely slaughters Palestinians, but he is always wheeled out by the Israeli authorities to defend the latest assault on Palestine, regularly using obfuscation, misrepresentation and blaming the Palestinians for their own oppression," Mr Carroll said.

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