In a move that has surprised many and created a polarised response, a prominent Israeli speaker is set to appear at University College London for a talk, two years after chaos ensued following his last visit. Hen Mazzig is a Pro-Israeli activist, writer and ex-soldier. He is well-respected by many. Previously in 2016, his appearance at UCL led to violent protests. Mazzig’s proposed appearance at UCL is part of a wider UK Tour. Read on for full details of this story.
Mazzig was set to appear in 2016 at UCL, but proceedings were heavily disrupted due to an intense altercation between pro and anti-Israel protesters. The Tweet above from Mazzig shows some of the chaos unfolding. Police arrived at UCL to try and contain the altercation, with violence involved. The University conducted an investigation into the event. Following Mazzig’s infamous appearance before, it was surprising that he was invited to return for an event, which will take place in late January.
His latest appearance has been arranged by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA). Mazzig will be speaking to UCL students and staff, with currently plans meaning the wider public won’t be able to attend. This is surely in an effort to prevent a repeat of the disorder which marred the 2016 event. However this decision was criticised by CAMERA in strong terms. A petition has been set up by several societies based at other Universities to try and allow the wider public to attend.
Yet Mazzig’s potential appearance has already led to considerable criticism. The University’s Friends of Palestine Society condemned the invitation, as seen in the Tweet below.
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A UCL spokesperson told the Jewish News that the invitation showed a ‘commitment to free speech’. While the event certainly looks likely to go ahead, it remains to be seen whether or not the event will pass without incident.