The protests against Israel’s ambassador to the UK, Tzipi Hotovely, when she spoke at the London School of Economics (LSE) last week, triggered a wave of condemnation across British politics, with senior Conservative and Labour figures labelling it antisemitism and an attack on free speech.

British Jewish institutions went, in some cases, further, with the Jewish Chronicle comparing the incident to Kristallnacht, when thousands of Jews were sent to concentration camps by Nazi paramilitaries, their property destroyed and synagogues desecrated.

As an elected representative of Jewish students on the Board of Deputies, the British Jewish community’s principal representative body, I take antisemitism on campus incredibly seriously – not least because it is something I have experienced first-hand.

Antisemitism is deeply embedded in British society, so there is no question that it exists at universities and that tropes about Jews can – subconsciously or otherwise – influence how people perceive and critique the Jewish state.

But if we want to eradicate antisemitism from all conversations and activism around Israel, however, then we need to be very clear about what it looks like and what it does not.

There is no debate about any threats of violence or intimidation directed towards Hotovely: they are clearly unacceptable.

But they are unacceptable as individual acts, in their own right. Suggesting that they alone constitute antisemitism, simply because she is an Israeli government official, is both tenuous and harmful, given that one of the core messages of antisemitism  education is that Jews and the State of Israel are distinct rather than interchangeable.

There was no evidence of antisemitic chants being used at the protest as Hotovely left and she was able to speak uninterrupted. The idea that what happened was comparable to Kristallnacht, just because the incident occurred on its anniversary, is so crass that it borders on Holocaust revisionism.

The reality is that claiming protestors against Hotovely could only have been motivated by a hatred of Jews serves – unwittingly or otherwise – to whitewash her record of racism. It implies that there is no legitimate reason she provokes such vocal objections when in fact the opposite is true.

Hotovely’s record as a politician includes inviting a racist and violent anti-miscegenation group into the Knesset, claiming that it was "important to examine procedures for preventing mixed marriages."

She is an avowed supporter of a discriminatory one-state solution, having set out an explicit vision for how the West Bank could be brought under permanent Israeli control without giving citizenship to Palestinians who live there. Since becoming ambassador she has made clear that this is still her view, and has continued to make racist remarks, describing the Nakba as an "Arab lie" in one of her first public events last year.

The politicians and commentators who rushed to accuse the protesters of antisemitism no doubt thought they were speaking for, or to, a community which shared a consensus on that view. The irony is that, while there was unified condemnation of the threats of violence directed towards Hotovely at LSE, British Jews have never been more divided over Israel – in large part, thanks to Hotovely herself.

After years of simmering discontent over the occupation, the appointment of an unabashed nationalist as ambassador seemed to unleash a torrent of frustration towards the Israeli government. Almost 2000 British Jews signed a petition calling for Hotovely’s appointment to be rejected and she was openly criticized by senior communal figures, including the leading rabbi of the Reform Movement, the UK’s second-largest denomination.

Since she arrived in London a year ago, some communal institutions have tried to ignore that rift, hosting her on numerous occasions and refusing to challenge even her most incendiary comments. Yet opposition to her within the Jewish community has continued to grow.

After the progressive denomination Liberal Judaism hosted her for an event this spring, dozens of its rank-and-file members spoke out and one of the movement’s Board members – the chair of its anti-racism action group – resigned in protest. The chief executive of Liberal Judaism, Rabbi Charley Baginsky, later expressed regret for how uncritically the event had been framed, and how community members had not been given the opportunity to object before it was publicly announced.

The Zionist youth movement Noam, part of the Conservative Masorti stream, openly boycotted Liberal Judaism an event with Hotovely, an unprecedented occurrence in Jewish communities worldwide. Her first in-person event in the Jewish community, less than one month ago, was met with a walkout from Jewish activists.

There are no doubt some – not least the Israeli embassy – who will hope that the events at LSE last week will draw a line under this discontent within the Jewish community, that the sight of Hotovely being fiercely protested will invoke a sense of solidarity that will lead to future disagreements being voiced behind closed doors, as they were with Hotovely’s predecessors. But the evidence suggests otherwise.

The violence in Israel-Palestine in May saw the UK’s largest-ever Jewish-led protests in support of Palestinians, a trajectory which is only likely to increase while the occupation continues. Hotovely’s brash, hardline views will only exacerbate that trend, and for as long as she remains in post, many British Jews will, proudly and on principle, protest her.

Tommer Spence is a founder of Na'amod and a representative of Jewish students on the Board of Deputies of British Jews. Twitter: @ermmto