The Barnet and Enfield branch of the Jewish Labour Movement has withdrawn an invitation to the Zionist activist, Jonathan Hoffman, to speak at its bi-monthly meeting at the end of February.
Members of the branch received an invitation to register for a web event with Mr Hoffman, a former co-vice-chair of the Zionist Federation. He was due to speak on “Whatever has happened to the ZF”, which, he says, has been taken over by left-wing groups.
But only days after the announcement of the meeting went out, Mr Hoffman was told by the Barnet and Enfield branch chair, Brian Harris, that “some people had objected”, and that therefore the meeting was not going ahead. People on the branch mailing list received an email saying that “due to unforeseen circumstances”, the meeting had been cancelled.
Mr Hoffman said he had been told that his invitation had become controversial and that it had been debated internally before the decision was taken to uninvite him.
A frequent demonstrator and activist against anti-Zionist speakers, Mr Hoffman rejected utterly what he called “an attempt at moral equivalence. I am not someone who invites hatred, there is no quid pro quo”, he said. In fact, he alleged, he had fallen victim to “cancel culture”.
He believed that he had attracted objections because of his role as an adviser to the on-line monitoring group Labour Against Antisemitism, which, he said, had had previous clashes with the Jewish Labour Movement.
Mr Harris did not make himself available for comment.
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.