Manchester

Manchester's Sheridan Suite pulls out of pro-Israeli event

Sheridan suite Image copyright Google
Image caption The Sheridan Suite was booked for the event on 31 January

A venue has pulled out of hosting an event in support of Israel after pro-Palestinian supporters complained.

North West Friends of Israel (NWFOI) said the Sheridan Suite in Manchester had "succumbed to gross intimidation" by cancelling a booking for 31 January.

A coalition of pro-Palestinian groups said it was "a moral duty" for firms to refuse to host events that "glorify Israel's decades-long illegal occupation... of the Palestinians".

Sheridan Suite declined to comment.

On 19 January, it tweeted a quotation of the late American writer Mark Twain: "Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please."

'Fallen victim'

NWFOI said the 'Say No To Terror - Stand with Israel' event was now postponed to coincide with the "arrival of Mark Regev, the new Israeli Ambassador to the UK".

The organisation claimed the Sheridan Suite "allowed itself to become a target" of a campaign for boycotts against Israel.

It added the venue had "fallen victim to an orchestrated campaign by specific pressure groups whose sole aim is to delegitimise the existence of the State of Israel".

Advocates of a boycott claim it exerts pressure on the Israeli government, particularly over the building of settlements in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, which has been condemned by the United Nations.

Four groups, including Manchester Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Manchester Jewish Action for Palestine, issued a statement, saying: "It is not anti-Semitism to oppose the Israeli regime and its oppressive system of domination over the Palestinians."

They claimed event organisers were trying to "plead victim while more theft of Palestinian land takes place every day", adding that its campaign was similar to international boycotts of South Africa in the 1970s and 80s, when anti-apartheid activists tried to bring down white minority rule.

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