Protests outside a university event in London, in which Israel’s ambassador to Britain spoke, have been condemned by ministers as “deeply disturbing” and “shocking”.
Tzipi Hotovely was invited to the London School of Economics (LSE) campus for an event hosted by the Student Debate Association.
Footage surfaced on social media after the debate on Tuesday night, which showed police keeping order as protesters booed and shouted “Shame on you” while Mrs Hotovely was rushed out of the university building into her car.
Foreign Minister Liz Truss called the treatment of the Israeli ambassador “unacceptable”, while Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi described the footage as “deeply disturbing”.
Interior Minister Priti Patel said she was “disgusted” by the treatment of Ms Hotovely, adding that police have her full support in investigating the “shocking” incident.
Karen Pollock, executive director of the Holocaust Educational Trust, who shared a video of the protests outside the event on Twitter, added: “This is absolutely shocking. At a university in London.”
About the protests, Truss tweeted: “We in Britain believe in freedom of speech. The treatment of Israeli Ambassador @TzipiHotovely last night and the attempt to silence her was unacceptable.”
The LSE said the ambassador spoke at the event and took questions before “leaving on schedule”.
The university, however, added that it was aware of “some threats of violence made on social media” and said it would review the processes surrounding the event.
Ms Patel said on Twitter: “By disgust at the treatment of the Israeli ambassador to the LSE last night. Anti-Semitism has no place in our universities or our country.”
She added: “I have been in contact with @TzipiHotovely and the police have my full support in investigating this horrific incident.”
A Metropolitan Police spokesman confirmed that officers were participating in the protest, but no one was arrested.
Zahawi said on Twitter: “This is deeply disturbing, I’m so sorry, Ambassador Hotovely.”
In a statement, the education minister added: “Last night, the Israeli ambassador was subjected to unacceptable intimidation.
“This is not disagreement or freedom of speech – it is harassment and it will have shaken Jewish students deeply both on the LSE and across the country.
“I have invited Jewish students from the LSE to a meeting to hear directly from them and offer any support I can.”
After the event, Mrs Hotovely said: “I am grateful for all the support I have received from the British Government, many friends and partners.
“I had an excellent event at #LSE and I will not be intimidated. I will continue to share Israeli history and maintain open dialogue with all sections of British society.”
An LSE spokesman said: “On Tuesday, November 9, the LSESU Debate Society hosted the Israeli Ambassador to the United Kingdom for an event on the LSE campus.
“The event, which attracted some protests outside, lasted about 90 minutes, with the ambassador speaking, taking questions from the audience and leaving on schedule.
“Freedom of expression and freedom of expression support everything we do at LSE. Students, staff and visitors are strongly encouraged to discuss and debate the most pressing topics around the world, but it must be done in a mutually respectful way.
“Intimidation or threats of violence are completely unacceptable.
“We are aware of some threats of violence made on social media around this event. All LSE students identified as being involved in making such threats will be subject to disciplinary action.
“We will review the processes surrounding this event to inform future planning.”
A statement from the Israeli embassy said: “Ambassador Hotovely was invited to speak to students at the LSE entitled ‘New Era in the Middle East’. It was a successful, open and fruitful discussion that went as planned.
“Outside the venue, there was a demonstration organized by Palestinian and Islamic communities across the universities of London. British police maintained order at the venue.
“The violence we witnessed as the ambassador left the premises after the conversation will not deter Israeli diplomats from engaging in meaningful dialogue with all sections of British society.”