Middle East Monitor / February 8, 2023
An event in the Houses of Parliament in London was cancelled yesterday after concerns were raised about the anti-Palestinian racism of the pro-Israel speakers. Notorious anti-Palestinian lobby group StandWithUs and Israeli-Arab activist Yoseph Haddad were reported to have been invited to speak in one of the committee rooms in the parliamentary building.
Details of the cancellation were reported by British left-wing activist Gary Spedding. The cross-party advisor on Israel and Palestine revealed details about Haddad’s invitation on Twitter.
Spedding, who has been denied entry to Israel on several occasions, said that concerns over Haddad’s anti-Palestinian racism were raised with British-Irish Liberal Democrat politician Baroness Sarah Ludford who was connected with the event in the House of Lords. Evidence of Haddad’s racism included his recent aggressive behaviour at Tel Aviv University.
In a video that went viral on social media, Haddad can be seen screaming and shouting at Palestinian students protesting at the university about Israel’s assault on Jenin refugee camp late last month, during which ten Palestinians were killed. Haddad, who is a Christian Arab, is seen shouting at the Muslim students: “Go study in Jenin! Don’t study in Israel. And if you do prefer to stay here, then shut your mouth.”
In addition to Haddad’s anti-Palestinian racism, Spedding said that, “Issues were also raised regarding the Islamophobia of StandWithUs and their direct links to the Israeli government.”
Ludford initially claimed that the event in parliament was a private meeting between herself and Haddad, but then it was pointed out that this was not true and that the event had been advertised by Lib Dem Friends of Israel. Although claiming to be part of the Liberal Democrats, the group advocates on behalf of the apartheid state of Israel in the UK parliament.
Concerns were raised with the leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, Lord Richard Newby, and party leader Ed Davey. Spedding said that there was no direct response from them. However, Gavin Stollar, the chair of Lib Dem Friends of Israel, subsequently sent another email out saying that the event in a House of Lords committee room had been cancelled. According to Spedding, it was downgraded to an offer of coffee with Haddad.