Labour group press Amnesty not to work with 'apologists for Hamas'

May 13, 2011
Sarah Benton
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Invitation to MEMO and PSC public event on Media Bias and Israel
From Dr Hanan Chehata
Press Officer for the Middle East Monitor (MEMO)

Dear all,
We just wanted to write to let you know about an upcoming event being co-hosted by the Middle East Monitor (MEMO) and the Palestine Solidity Campaign (PSC) on May 23rd. It’s on Media Bias and Israel. You will find all of the info. in terms of venue, time etc… on the attached flyer. Speakers include Tim Llewellyn (former BBC correspondent), Abdel Bari Atwan, (Editor of Al-Quds Al-Arabi) Prof. Greg Philo (Research Director of the Glasgow Media Group and author of More Bad News from Israel), and it will be chaired by Victoria Britain (author and former associate foreign editor of the Guardian newspaper).

In the last week or so this event has been targeted by pro-Israeli lobbyists who are trying to get our event cancelled and are trying to pressurise Amnesty International not to let us use their Human Rights centre as a venue for the event on 23rd May. The event is still going ahead however. You can find a statement we issued in response below.

Please feel free to come along to this meeting which will be focusing on the important subject of media bias and whether the media is complicit in Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people. If you would like to register for this event just let me know or email and my colleague will add your name to the guest list.
Flyer for event
Complicity in Oppression: Do the Media Aid Israel?

The BBC’s former Middle East correspondent, Tim Llewellyn, joins Greg Philo, Research Director of the Glasgow Media Group, and Abdel Bari Atwan, Editor of the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper, to discuss the mainstream media’s coverage of Palestine and Israel.
Do newspaper and television reporting favour one narrative over the other? How does this influence public perception and is real damage done to the Palestinians’ hopes for justice? What pressure do journalists come under from their news organisations when trying to report the facts from the Occupied Territories?
Tim Llewellyn was the BBC’s Middle East correspondent for 10 years and speaks with an insider’s knowledge of the tension between reporters on the ground and their more cautious management teams in London.
Abdel Bari Atwan was born in Gaza, Palestine but has lived in London since 1979. He has been the editor of London-based al-Quds al-Arabi, an independent, pan-Arab daily newspaper since 1989. He is the author of The Secret History of al-Qa’ida, and A Country of Words, his memoir.
Greg Philo is the co-author of Bad News from Israel (2004) and More Bad News from Israel (May 2011). Both books contain meticulous research from the Glasgow Media Group revealing how the language, tone and agenda of news reports result in a dangerously misleading view of the Occupation amongst the general public. Greg will be signing copies of More Bad News from Israel, which will be on sale, after the meeting.
Chair: Victoria Brittain, author and former Guardian journalist
Date: Monday 23 May, 2011
Time: 7pm – 9.30pm
Venue: Amnesty International, Human Rights Action Centre, New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EA
To facilitate a prompt start, final admission to this event will be at 7pm. Latecomers will not be admitted after this time. If you can no longer attend, please email to let us know, so we can reallocate your seat.
Organised by Palestine Solidarity Campaign and MEMO
Statement from Labour Friends of Israel
Relationship between the UK and Israel: Labour Friends of Israel calls on Amnesty International
to cancel its planned event with anti-peace organisations
Labour Friends of Israel is calling on Amnesty International to cancel its work with Middle East Monitor (MEMO) and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) – who both give Hamas supporters a platform, and turn a blind eye to the militant organisation’s abuse of Palestinian and Israeli human rights. On 23rd May, Amnesty International is scheduled to host an event organised by MEMO and PSC entitled “Complicity in Oppression: Do the Media Aid Israel?” in its Human Rights Action Centre.
LFI is encouraging people to write to Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty to call for this event to be cancelled. Amnesty International can be contacted at and Amnesty International UK Section Charitable Trust, The Human Rights Action Centre, 17-25 New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EA
Amnesty has already received over a dozen complaints about the event from LFI members, including LFI Vice Chair Louise Ellman MP. In response, an Amnesty spokesperson has said that they are “carefully examining” the letters which “raise concerns about the PSC and MEMO” and are now “reviewing the event”. The Jewish Chronicle reported on Thursday (12 May) that “Amnesty bosses may still cancel the event”.
Whilst Amnesty aims “to protect people wherever justice, fairness, freedom and truth are denied,” by hosting this event it would be supporting the PSC and MEMO’s apologism for Hamas’ appalling human rights record, documented by Amnesty itself in the following statements:
• Executions by Hamas in Gaza ‘deplorable’, 15 April 2010
• Hamas waged a deadly campaign as war devastated Gaza, 12 February 2009
• Gaza and West Bank: Hamas and Fatah must end revenge killings, attacks and abductions, 18
June 2007
Please follow this link to an excellent piece by Just Journalism’s Michael Weiss criticising
Amnesty for hosting this event
MEMO Statement
Tuesday, 10 May 2011 15:30
It is clear that a co-ordinated campaign has been launched to try to get Amnesty International to withdraw the use of its premises for an event to be hosted by MEMO and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign later this month. Ironically, the programme in question is discussing whether or not the pro-Israel lobby has influence over the media leading to the latter’s complicity in Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians.
Some very serious accusations have been made against MEMO and its contributors in the course of this campaign; some by people who really should know better.
Nevertheless, MEMO wishes to make it absolutely clear that the organisation and its staff are against racism in any and all of its forms, wherever and whenever it occurs; we will not tolerate racism in any articles, reports or comment pieces published by MEMO.
Although one contributor to MEMO has been targeted for particular attention by the pro-Israel lobby, MEMO understands that he has apologised for an anti-Semitic remark made on an independent blog which has no link to MEMO. We are using whatever influence we can to ensure that such remarks are not made again in any forum if the person in question wishes to remain a contributor to MEMO.
Along with the PSC, we’d like to stress that the event in question is asking pertinent questions for which increasing numbers of people feel it is essential to have answers. Critics should focus on the issues involved instead of adopting tactics to discredit the organisations bold enough to bring such topics forward for public discussion.

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