Ron Prosor ignores silent Palestinian protest

Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor continues to speak  as gaffer-taped protesters stand up at Edinburgh University

Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor continues to speak as gaffer-taped protesters stand up at Edinburgh University

Pro-Palestinian protesters taped their mouths and turned their backs on Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor as he spoke to students during a heavily policed lecture this week.

Nine students, wearing red sweatshirts, stood up after Mr Prosor began his speech at Edinburgh University on Monday. One by one they called out the names of Palestinians whom they claimed had been killed by the IDF.

Declaring that the Palestinians had been "silenced" by the Israeli government,they turned their backs on the ambassador. Some gaffer-taped their mouths shut. The group stood for five minutes before silently walking out of the hall.

Mr Prosor spoke at the university's McEwan Hall less than three weeks after an address by Ishmael Khaldi, the Israeli Foreign Ministry's most senior Muslim diplomat, was hijacked during an appearance on the campus.

Students faced unprecedented security measures as Mr Prosor spoke to the university's Politics Society. Six vanloads of police patrolled the outside of the building, while more than a dozen security officers kept watch inside.

Around 40 people demonstrated outside, carrying "Free Gaza" banners and shouting anti-Israel slogans through a loudspeaker.

More than 200 students, including a number of those involved in the attack on Mr Khaldi, were in the hall, raising embassy concerns that Mr Prosor could face a similar reception.

Before the event started, Jewish Society members shook hands with Palestinian students in a collective effort to maintain a peaceful atmosphere.

Professor Owen Dudley-Edwards, chairing the session, read out the university's code of conduct and asked the audience to create "a framework of mutual respect".

The end of Mr Prosor's speech was met with applause before he spent 45 minutes taking questions from students. Prof Dudley-Edwards praised the protesters for carrying out their demonstration peacefully and not disrupting proceedings, and thanked Mr Prosor, saying he would always be welcome to speak at the university.

Mr Prosor said: "The embassy never shies away from taking the argument to our detractors - we only ask that they give us the courtesy of listening. In Edinburgh, despite fierce protests outside, an even fiercer case for Israel was able to be made inside."

Last updated: 4:20pm, February 24 2011