he Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) was sent notice on Friday evening (19/01) that, at the eleventh hour, Amnesty International UK was now refusing to host a JLC event due to be held at their offices on Wednesday 24th January.

Amnesty International UK initially committed to joining a panel debate. They withdrew from the panel some months ago, but agreed to maintain their offer of the event space.  Four days before the event was scheduled to take place, the JLC received notice that Amnesty International UK was no longer agreeing to host the event, on the grounds that Amnesty International UK:

“are currently campaigning for all governments around the world to ban the import of goods produced in the illegal Israeli settlements. We do not, therefore, think it appropriate for Amnesty International to host an event by those actively supporting such settlements.”

Jonathan Goldstein, Chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council said:

“It is disgraceful that a Jewish charity is barred from the offices of Amnesty International UK. For a long time, our community has been deeply disappointed by Amnesty International UK’s approach to Israel and the Jewish community, yet we had sought positive engagement. By withdrawing their offer to host an event on the role of the UN Human Rights Council, it is clear that Amnesty International UK’s claim ‘to protect Freedom of Expression,’ is only on their terms. We have long argued that the aggressive criticism of Israeli government policy creates an environment where antisemitism thrives and it is highly regrettable that on this occasion Amnesty International UK’s decision has targeted the Jewish community.”

The panel session, entitled “The UNHRC and Israel: How it works, what’s not working, and how it might be repaired” is to be chaired by Danny Friedman QC, a renowned Human Rights barrister, with speakers including Fred Carver of the UN Association, and Hillel Neuer of UN Watch.

An announcement on a new location for the event will follow in due course.