A contrite Paul Charney, chairman of the Zionist Federation, has apologised for offence caused after a controversial right-wing columnist appeared at the organisation’s annual fund-raising dinner on Sunday night,
Ms Hopkins, who has lent support to extreme right-wing positions, was photographed with Israeli ambassador Mark Regev at the dinner, which attracted considerable condemnation on social media,
Mr Charney said: “For clarification purposes, Katie Hopkins was not invited directly by the ZF to our annual dinner, but as a guest of a guest. A photo at the event with Ambassador Regev was taken during a long line of fans queuing for a photo with His Excellency and should not reflect on him or on the Embassy. On behalf of the ZF we unreservedly apologise for any offence caused by Ms Hopkins’ presence, and will look to learn the lessons for the future”.
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Mr Charney’s apology — reflecting considerable behind-the-scenes embarrassment — came after a sharp attack by the Jewish Labour Movement. Its vice-chair, Mike Katz, wrote to the ZF condemning Ms Hopkins’ attendance at the dinner, saying that support of Israel “cannot be used as a free pass for the propagation of hate speech”.
The JLM deplored Ms Hopkins’ “odious views” and said that the columnist had attacked JLM and its leadership “for working to defeat antisemitism and Islamophobia on social media.She has also attempted to stir up issues surrounding community cohesion in Golders Green”. Her views, the JLM said, “have no place in our society.”