Trinity College Dublin expressed regret Tuesday over actions of a group of protesters, whose demonstrations led to the cancellation of an event involving the Israeli ambassador to Ireland, Ze'ev Boker, at the college on Monday night.
"Trinity College Dublin regrets that Israel’s ambassador to Ireland, Ze’ev Boker, was unable to take part in a question and answer session on Monday evening after protesters from inside and outside the university threatened to disrupt the event. The university regards what happened as an unacceptable attack on free speech," the statement began.
It went on to say that Ambassador Boker had been due to address a student society on Monday, but the event was cancelled before he arrived at the proposed venue amid security concerns, the statement continuted.
"University officials had unsuccessfully tried to get the protesters to leave an area surrounding the door to a lecture theatre," the statement explained.
The statement went on to emphasize their usual warm reception of Boker: "The ambassador has been a regular and welcome visitor to Trinity since his appointment. He had dinner in the university earlier in the same evening and attended another event in Trinity last week."
Trinity’s Provost, Patrick Prendergast, criticized the protesters for preventing a guest from expressing his opinions. “This was most unfortunate and represents the antithesis of what Trinity stands for. Universities should be able to facilitate the exchange of ideas. The protesters have violated that fundamental belief," he said.
“Trinity will remain a home for debate and we will do everything possible to make sure that efforts to suppress the free exchange of ideas do not succeed. I look forward to welcoming Ambassador Boker back to Trinity to speak again in the near future.”