Fallout from Amnesty International’s venue cancellation of a Jewish Leadership Council event owing to its purported position on settlements continued on Tuesday, as lawyers said the charity may have acted illegally.
The legal opinion came as organisers announced a changed venue for the panel discussion regarding the UN Human Rights Council and Israel, originally scheduled to be hosted at Amnesty on Wednesday.
A spokesperson for the JLC said: “It will now take place in Parliament. We would like to thank Louise Ellman MP and Damien Moore MP who have kindly agreed to become our new hosts.”
By Tuesday lunchtime, more than 1,000 people had signed an open letter calling for Amnesty International UK to apologise to the Jewish community, as a leading barrister said the charity may be on shaky ground.
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“They might well be in breach of the Equality Act for discriminating against a Jewish organisation, given the nature of other speakers and organisations whom they have hosted previously,” said Jonathan Turner, chairman of UK Lawyers for Israel.
“They are probably also in breach of any contract they have made for the hire of the venue by the JLC,” he added.
The charity wrote to the JLC advising that it could no longer host the panel event because it promotes an economic boycott of produce from West Bank settlements and considered the Jewish umbrella group to “actively supports Israel’s settlements,” a charge flatly denied by JLC chair Jonathan Goldstein.
In the open letter, supporters say Amnesty’s stance “vindicates those who argue that there is a slippery slope from endorsing the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to discrimination of Jews”.