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Israeli Minister, Historian Welcomed in Britain

With a disinvitation and ‘slaughter the Jews’

by
Marc Tracy
February 09, 2010

Yesterday, at the Oxford Union (at the eponymous British university), Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon—an especially controversial figure, most recently for his deliberate humiliation of Turkey’s ambassador—was the target of shouts of “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and “Itbah Al-Yahud,” which means, “Slaughter the Jews.”

On the other hand, at least he was allowed to talk! Benny Morris, the prominent Israeli historian (as well as—spoiler alert!—forthcoming Tablet Magazine contributor), was disinvited from Cambridge University’s Israel Society following a student protest that began on Facebook. Morris began his career decidedly on the left—he was one of the so-called New Historians who documented Israeli abuses during the 1947-8 war—but has since moved rightward. “I decided to cancel for fear of the Israel Society being portrayed as a mouthpiece of Islamophobia,” said the Israel Society head. “We understand that whilst Professor Benny Morris’ contribution to history is highly respectable and significant, his personal views are, regrettably, deeply offensive to many.” Morris will speak instead at the university’s Political Science Department, which is apparently more interested in hearing what Israeli historians have to say than the Israel Society is.

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.

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