- Jewish activists barred from meeting in which senior Palestinian allegedly made anti-Semitic remarks
- SNP MP Tommy Sheppard now investigated by Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards
- Professor Manuel Hassassian has denied his comments were anti-Semitic
An MP is being investigated after Jewish activists were barred from a meeting in which a senior Palestinian made allegedly anti-Semitic remarks.
The meeting to highlight injustices faced by Palestinians was held in the Commons and hosted by the SNP MP Tommy Sheppard. It was initially advertised as an open event.
But a number of pro-Israel campaigners who had successfully applied to attend were later told it was ‘private’ and turned away – with the exception of a Jewish woman who claimed she was allowed entry because she used an Islamic-sounding name and dressed in a hijab.
The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards has now launched an investigation into whether the arrangements for the meeting breached the MPs’ code of conduct. At the event, the Palestinian Authority ambassador to the UK, Professor Manuel Hassassian, attacked Britain’s attitude towards Israel.
He said: ‘They [the British] are still doing trade relations and still sympathising with the Jews as being the victims of the Holocaust.
Host: SNP MP Tommy Sheppard led a meeting to highlight injustices faced by Palestinians
‘Enough of this rhetoric. We have made and paid for this historic concession when we have agreed to give 78 per cent of this historic Palestine on a golden platter.’
Prof Hassassian has denied his comments were anti-Semitic. He told the Christian Today website: ‘We empathise with the Jews who suffered so terribly in the Holocaust but it should not be used to continue the relentless victimisation of Palestinians.’
Former Lib Dem MP Lord Carlisle said the event should not have been held at Westminster once it became private. He said: ‘This sort of meeting should not have taken place in Parliament once the decision was made to exclude Jewish members of the public.’
But Mr Sheppard denied Jewish activists had their tickets cancelled by the organisers, the Pro-Palestinian group EuroPal, because of their backgrounds. He said a number of people were told they couldn’t attend the November event because Commons authorities had moved it from a large committee room to a much smaller one.
The woman who wore a hijab, Ambrosine Shitrit, claimed: ‘It was only putting in for a ticket in a Muslim name that allowed myself to gain entry into that event and witness anti-Semitic rhetoric.’
Jewish academic Dr Irene Lancaster added: ‘This is yet another example of poisonous anti-Semitism masquerading as support for Palestinians. If we Jews have to disguise ourselves in a hijab to respond to the outrageous lies and defamations made against us, it
demonstrates that the Jewish community can no longer trust the mother of parliaments.’