Cold peace: Hundreds of Jordanian students rallied outside Amman's University of Jordan on Thursday in protest of a scheduled lecture by an Israeli expert at a mental health conference.
The protesters demanded that Dr. Gideon Anholt's lecture be canceled and called on authorities to expel the Israeli ambassador from Jordan and cancel the 1994 peace treaty.
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A university official met with the protesters and promised to cancel the Ben-Gurion University lecturer's appearance so as not to disrupt the conference. Protesters bragged they succeeded in cancelling "the Zionist's lecture" on Facebook. Another lecture by an Israeli expert was also canceled, apparently unknown to the protesters.
Watch hundreds rally in Amman
Dr. Anholt told Ynet he was smuggled out of the university by security guards. "The protesters handed out flyers expressing outrage over the participation of Israeli occupiers in a Jordan conference," he said. "As things heated up security officers eventually had to take us out the back door."
Anholt recounted his feeling of panic as hundreds gathered outside the university. "It was stressful. Leaving out the back is unpleasant," he said. He noted he returned to Israel via the Allenby Bridge.
According to Anholt, the Jordanian conference dealt with anxiety and depression in the Middle East. He had hoped to meet Arab researchers and explore possible collaborations. Despite his unpleasant experience, Anholt hopes he will return to Jordan in a professional capacity.
"This event saddens me but has not changed my feelings. It's a pity fanatics are allowed to ruin prospects of collaboration. I understand that the current atmosphere is very complex but I will still try to promote as many scientific initiatives as I can. It won't be easy though."
Officials at the University of Jordan tried to distance themselves from the Israeli experts and said they had no knowledge they had been invited for the conference. Dr. Anholt said that the event was organized by an American group and that it was unlikely that the university's directors were unaware of the participants.
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