'Israel a rogue state' student loses Union vote appeal

By Jennifer Lipman, November 25, 2010

Gabriel Latner, the student who transformed a debate on the delegitimisation of Israel into a celebration of the country’s humanitarianism, has run into trouble in his bid to become the next Cambridge Union president.

The second-year law student will have 40 per cent of any votes at tomorrow’s election docked for speaking to the Cambridge student newspaper about being banned from the Union for insulting pro-Palestinian campaigner Lauren Booth.

After the life ban was overturned he decided to stand for the presidency. But he gave an interview to The Cambridge Tab, which the Returning Officers said was a violation of the rules on canvassing support. An appeal against the decision was unsuccessful as officers said the offence had “caused a gross distortion to the fairness in the election”.

The Appeal Panel said: “He reasonably should have foreseen that such an interview would appear on The Tab‟s website, thus making use of the worldwide web.

“The communications made by Mr Latner …did make explicit reference to the election in question, and attempted to persuade others to act in a way conducive to the acquisition of more votes for himself.

Pointing out that Mr Latner, who is originally from Toronto, had also posted the interview on his Facebook page, officers said: “Mr Latner was therefore engaging in campaigning making use of the world-wide-web.”

In the interview Mr Latner said the Union had “become a soap-box for unqualified, untalented, D-list celebrities to pontificate.”

He added: “Anyone who thinks we deserve better should vote for me, because my top priority will be improving the debates, and only inviting the best speakers to participate”.

Last updated: 1:15pm, November 25 2010