The RSA prides itself on political impartiality and its ability to bring together people from different sectors, countries, faiths, beliefs and backgrounds. Those are precious principles that we have always and will always safeguard.
Some weeks ago, rooms were booked at RSA House by a UK/Israel business forum. This private business event was scheduled to take place on 14 December. A large and diverse range of private events take place at RSA House from across a wide range of countries. These events are commercial hires and are independent to the public and fellowship events we organise to deliver the mission and vision of the RSA.
From the late afternoon on the day before the event, new information was emerging from the organisers that changed profoundly our understanding of the event. It was to involve high-level representation from both the UK and Israeli governments and was planned to be a public event.
We took all measures we could in the short time available to minimise the disruption associated with the event and to prioritise everyone's safety. There were protests outside RSA House on the day and reasonable questions have been raised about whether the RSA should have accepted the event.
The RSA apologises for any upset or disruption caused as a result of this event. Had we known all of the details in advance, we would have made different decisions about accepting the event in order to safeguard the wellbeing of our staff, Fellows, attendees and visitors. The event also raises questions about how best the RSA maintains its political neutrality.
We have commissioned an independent review of the facts around the case which will identify ways our internal processes can be improved to ensure all of our events are consistent with our values and the well-being of our staff and Fellows. This review will be completed in the new year.
The RSA looks forward to continuing to work with a diverse range of partners and Fellows from a wide range of countries, backgrounds, faiths and beliefs, in the future in pursuit of our social mission.
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