Princeton’s Center for Jewish Life cancels event with Israel’s deputy FM

In the latest attack on free speech by pro-Palestinian activists on American campuses, an address by an Israeli diplomat was canceled.

By Adina Katz, World Israel News

The Center for Jewish Life (CJL) at Princeton University has canceled a campus lecture by Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely at the last minute, caving in to pressure from the Alliance of Jewish Progressives and Allies, which takes a pro-Palestinian stand.

The lecture was scheduled for Tuesday at Princeton’s Hillel House. She was notified just a day earlier.

In a letter published Sunday in the Daily Princetonian, the group stated that to date, the CJL “has indefinitely postponed” Hotovely’s talk “until it is vetted through the CJL’s Israel Advisory Committee.”

“Hotovely’s work causes irreparable damage to the prospects of a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” the letter claims, referring to her policy statements as “racist.”

The pro-Palestinian group objects to her support for construction of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, including her Zionist proclamation that “This land is ours. All of it is ours. We did not come here to apologize for that.”

According to the letter, “Hotovely’s alarming vision for the future of the region is coupled with a complete rejection of Palestinian history and connection to key sites such as the Haram al-Sharif. In a recent speech in the Israeli Parliament, Hotovely spoke directly to Palestinian Members of Knesset, saying, ‘You are thieves of history. Your history books are empty, and you are trying to co-opt Jewish history and Islamicize it.’”

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Haram al-Sharif, the Arabic name for the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, is the holiest site in Judaism and Islam’s third holiest. The Jewish ties to the site, where the two Jewish temples stood, date back thousands of years. When UNESCO last year denied the Jewish claim to the Mount, siding with the Palestinians, the organization was condemned by Israeli politicians across the board.

Ambassador Carmel Shama HaCohen, Israel’s permanent delegate to UNESCO, said at the time that “Israel and the Jewish people do not require UNESCO’s or any other country’s confirmation of the special connection between the Jewish people and the State of Israel and Jerusalem in general, and the holy sites such as the Western Wall and the Temple Mount in particular.”

“There is no connection of another people to another place in the world that comes close to the strength and depth of our connection to Jerusalem from a religious, historical and national perspective, a connection that has stood the test of 2,000 years,” he said.

Hotovely arrived in the US this week to speak at a number of campuses, including New York and Columbia Universities, in an effort to help pro-Israel students defend the Jewish state in an atmosphere of intense hostility.

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“The attempt to cancel my lecture at Princeton University, another station on my campus journey, is indicative of a severe and profound crisis. Although there are those who will not allow me to speak, the lecture will take place in front of anyone interested. I will continue to fight for the truth of Israel everywhere,” a defiant Hotovely posted on her Facebook page Monday evening.

Princeton’s Chabad House will host her lecture.