Church ‘sorry’ for leasing room for Miko Peled talk

Church ‘sorry’ for leasing room for Miko Peled talk

St Anne's in central London apologised 'for the offence that has been caused to members of the Jewish community' after leasing room for a talk by anti-Zionist activist

Miko Peled
Miko Peled

St Anne’s Church in Soho has apologised for leasing a room to the controversial Keep Talking Group for a talk by Israeli-born anti-Zionist activist Miko Peled.

Peled spoke at the church last Thursday for an event titled “Miko Peled, Journey of an Israeli in Palestine.”

The anti-racism charity Hope Not Hate expressed concern about the event in a series of tweets on Saturday.

St Anne’s Church said on Sunday that it will donate the room hire fee to the Community Security Trust and will review its own booking procedure.

The church apologised “for the offence that has been caused to members of the Jewish Community” and said it opposes “any form of hatred: be it racism, homophobia or antisemitism.”

But Peled denied accusations of prejudice, saying in a statement: “The suggestion that the event in which I spoke in any way shape or form represents hate, racism, homophobia or antisemitism is outrageous and libelous. 

“I would like to know the members of which Jewish community demanded this apology, as there are many communities in the UK that are Jewish, not only one. I am Jewish and Israeli, I have many friends who are Jewish and view the issue of Palestine as I do. I would like to know the identity of anyone who made these false accusations.”

Mark Gardner, director of communications at the CST, said: “The action of St Anne’s Church demonstrates the strength and sincerity of their apology.

“CST did not ask for this donation, but it sends a strong message of solidarity against antisemitism, and against the far left and far right losers that comprise this sad bunch of conspiracy cranks.”

Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl said the representative body was “very grateful to St Anne’s Church for its heartfelt apology.”

“We urge people who have previously hosted or supported Peled – including University College London, Brighton Quaker Meeting and some Labour Party members – to have nothing more to do with him,” she added.

St Anne’s Church said it had neither organised or promoted the event which “may not have accurately reflected our values or those of our community.”

“However, I regret that we inadvertently gave a platform, however small, to anyone whose words on the night, or reputation from the past, had the potential to cause offense. That was not our intention,” the church said.

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