A pro-Israeli group with close ties to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has come under fire for “muzzling free speech in the UK” during what appears to be a desperate attempt to shut down a major event on Palestine in London this weekend organized by the UK organization, Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA).
The frantic effort to block the two-day event known as “Palestine Expo” saw the UK pro-Israeli group, Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI), seeking cancellation of the conference by applying pressure on the German owners of the venue, Olympia London exhibition center.
— Ramzy Baroud (@RamzyBaroud) July 3, 2019
Bizarrely, the self-styled legal group attempted to shut down the event through a recently passed resolution in the German parliament which defines the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as anti-Semitic.
The non-binding bill was met with wide-scale condemnation including from 240 Israel and Jewish professors who urged German lawmakers to oppose the motion and “not to endorse” it due to what they say is an attack on Israel’s critics “based on the false allegation that BDS as such equals anti-Semitism.”
Pro-Israel lobbyists accused of 'muzzling free speech' over efforts to stop Palestine Expo –Palestine Expo is proud to announce to be an inclusive group and to bring about justice for the Palestinians– And still Israel is unhappy. https://t.co/kVcmoseWVy via @MiddleEastEye
— Javed Ahmed Mir (@JavedMir16) July 3, 2019
UKLFI admitted that after failing to have the event canceled due to Olympia London dismissing their complaint, the pro-Israel group contacted three of Olympia’s German co-owners and appealed using the recently passed anti-BDS law to achieve this end.
On its website, UKLFI also suggested that it had gained a victory through its frantic lobbying and claimed that FOA was “under pressure to curb [its] advocacy” of the BDS movement ahead of the “Palestine Expo” exhibition.
If you haven’t bought your PALEXPO tickets stop what you’re doing and buy it now with our 20% discount and a free cup of Arabic coffee on the day ????
— Olive (@TheOlive_UK) July 1, 2019
Rejecting UKLFI’s claim FOA said:
“Friends of Al-Aqsa wishes to make it clear that it has received no such communication from any institutes, authorities or companies.”
In its press release countering UKLFI and its campaign to suppress free speech, FOA revealed that the pro-Israeli lobby group had made no attempt to contact them or any of the other organizers of Palestine Expo.
Come to Palestine expo by @friendsofalaqsa & listen to Palestinian Grandmothers telling their stories about living through the Nakba.
With so much history, culture and heritage – discover Palestine like never before.
— Palestine Expo (@PalestineExpo) May 22, 2019
This year’s Palestine Expo, which attracts thousands of people, will also include Israeli academic Ilan Pappe and other prominent academics from across the world.
(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)