Guns drawn, guards spirit away Israeli envoy to Spain as BDS activists crash lecture

Video shows protesters trying to enter room where Rodica Radian-Gordon was being guarded, as member of security detail points pistol at them; she later finishes her talk

In a screenshot from video on social media, an armed guard holds a gun across from pro-BDS activists who interrupted a lecture by Israel's ambassador to Spain, Rodica Radian-Gordon, at Complutense University of Madrid, February 8, 2023. (Twitter screenshot; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
In a screenshot from video on social media, an armed guard holds a gun across from pro-BDS activists who interrupted a lecture by Israel's ambassador to Spain, Rodica Radian-Gordon, at Complutense University of Madrid, February 8, 2023. (Twitter screenshot; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Israel’s envoy to Spain was spirited to safety by armed guards this week after a group of pro-BDS activists interrupted a speech she was giving at a university in Madrid.

The disturbance occurred Wednesday as Israeli Ambassador Rodica Radian-Gordon spoke at Complutense University of Madrid to mark 30 years since the signing of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinians. After the demonstrators broke into the lecture hall, she was escorted to another room by security, which Hebrew media reports said included both Israeli and local guards.

In video from the university, the activists can be seen running toward the room where the ambassador was, as one of the guards at the door draws a pistol and points it toward them. He then enters the room as other members of the security detail block the raucous protesters, who proceed to chant and wave Palestinian flags outside.

The protesters were later dispersed by police, and Radian-Gordon resumed her address.

In a video statement, the ambassador vowed to continue speaking with students at Spanish universities, “even after the violent incident.”

The Foreign Ministry released a statement saying it was “shocked by the violence of the anti-Israel protesters.”

Ambassador Rodica Radian-Gordon. (Youtube screenshot)

“We thank the dean for determinedly and bravely leading an open and balanced academic discussion,” it said.

According to the statement, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen called the ambassador Wednesday evening to laud her for “her stand against the extreme anti-Israel protesters… despite the shocking attempt to violently prevent [the lecture].”

The incident came the same day that Barcelona’s mayor announced the city was suspending ties with Israel and its twinning with Tel Aviv, accusing Israel of rights abuses against Palestinians. The next day, Madrid’s mayor offered to twin the Israeli coastal city instead, as he denounced Barcelona’s move as having a “significant stench of antisemitism.”

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