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THE University of York’s invitation to Alon Roth-Snir, the deputy Israeli Ambassador, brings shame on our city. Little wonder that the university has closed the event to all but staff and students, and has been keeping the location secret.
I would be quick to welcome Mr Roth-Snir if he were coming to announce that Israel was about to bring its soldiers and settlers back inside its legally recognised borders; to lift the siege on Gaza (that ‘open air prison’, to quote David Cameron); and to at least gesture at some form of compensation to the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians that Israel drove from their lands in first declaring independence.
Yet I doubt this visit will amount to anything more than empty PR aimed at slowing Israel’s inexorable descent to pariah status.
The university may want to consult the Foreign Office’s ongoing review of countries which commit serious human rights abuses, which now lists Israel and the OPT as a ‘Country of Concern’, alongside Iran, Iraq, Libya, and Pakistan.
I do not think it is appropriate that representatives of governments that seriously abuse human rights be invited to speak unopposed in closed meetings.
Dr Ben Young, Trent House, Margaret Street, York.