Israeli ambassador cancelled Hay Festival talk

By Jessica Elgot, June 3, 2010
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Israel’s ambassador to Britain, Ron Prosor, cancelled his appearance at the Hay Festival this week, hours before his intended talk.

A spokesman for the Israeli embassy said: “Obviously because of developing events and other pressing demands on the ambassador’s time, we had many other obligations to fulfil. Sadly that meant we had no choice but to cancel the talk at the Hay Festival.”

Many of the speakers at the literary festival in Hay-on-Wye used their talks to address concerns over Israel and the Gaza flotilla.

One speaker who provoked an angry reaction from some audience members was human rights lawyer Michael Mansfield QC.

He said he had almost accepted an invitation to join the flotilla but had cancelled because of his speech at Hay.

He said: “It was a chance decision not to go on the flotilla. I am incensed, I’m volcanic about the actions of the Israeli government.

“This was to be foreseen, this was utterly predictable. The Israeli government are now a pariah state. They aren’t remotely interested in international law and never have been. They commit murder with impunity.”

He added that he believed Prime Minister David Cameron should send the Royal Navy to protect ships delivering aid to Gaza.

    Last updated: 4:47pm, June 3 2010