(JTA) — Michael Oren told Brandeis University graduates that Israel has a responsibility to seek peace.

The Israeli Ambassador to the United States spoke Sunday at the university’s 59th commencement ceremony.

At least 20 protestors demonstrated near the ceremony, holding signs criticizing Israel’s treatment of Palestinian civilians and blaming Israel for committing war crimes, the weekly Brandeis Hoot reported.

Brandeis announced Oren as its commencement speaker and recipient of an honorary degree in April. The choice evoked a spectrum of responses in campus publications and online forums ranging from enthusiastic support to wary apprehension to outrage.

Oren was at the center of a debate over free speech after hecklers were arrested for repeatedly disrupting his address at the University of California, Irvine in February.

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