Ayalon may press charges against heckler


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s deputy foreign minister may press charges against a student who shouted "slaughter the Jews" during his speech at Oxford University.

"The Deputy Foreign Minister is looking into the possibility of pressing charges against the student for what is tantamount to a call for genocide," said a statement issued Wednesday by Danny Ayalon’s office.

Ayalon spoke Monday night to the prestigious Oxford University debating society, the Oxford Union.

"This demonstrates our new policy on hatred and racism, and we will have zero tolerance for anti-Semitism, something that should have happened a long time ago," Ayalon said.

Another protester carrying a Palestinian flag started walking toward Ayalon before security intervened and he was ejected from the hall.

Other students shouted, inside and outside the hall, that "Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea," which calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. After the event, security prevented several students from physically assaulting Ayalon.

Ayalon entered Britain this week after receiving assurances that he would not be arrested on charges of war crimes stemming from last winter’s Gaza war, as was threatened to other Israeli government officials. 

A statement released Tuesday by the Oxford Union said the demonstrators "exceeded the principles of free speech that the Society upholds. They and their remarks are not representative of this Society, nor the vast majority of the audience. The Oxford Union will not tolerate this kind of behavior by its Members."

The statement said that the union’s president has launched an investigation aimed at identifying those who disrupted the event in order to take disciplinary action against them.

"The Oxford Union will be apologizing to Mr. Ayalon for the actions of its members and thank him for the professional way in which he handled the situation," the statement said.

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