Palestine group to sue for ‘erroneous’ reporting of Tonge event

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Palestine group to sue for ‘erroneous’ reporting of Tonge event

'False and defamatory accusations' will be met with legal action, say hosts of a meeting which called for an apology for the Balfour Declaration

The panel event in parliament, held by the Palestine Return Centre. Baroness Tonge is sitting second from the left in red.
The panel event in parliament, held by the Palestine Return Centre. Baroness Tonge is sitting second from the left in red.

The Palestinian Return Centre has said it will sue for wrongful reporting following its launch event of the Balfour Apology Campaign at the House of Lords last week, which was hosted by Baroness Tonge.

The event was reported to have featured an anti-Semitic “speaker” who likened Israel to Islamic State and blamed Jews for the Holocaust, but the PRC has said it was not made clear that the ‘speaker’ was a Jewish audience member from anti-Zionist group Neturei Karta.

In a 3-page statement, the Palestinian Return Centre said it “demands that those media publications correct the erroneous facts presented and provide an accurate account of the events”. It added: “We also intend to seek legal action for the false accusations and defamatory allegations directed against the centre.”

The PRC criticised “lazy” and “poor” journalism from news outlets including The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Mail, The Daily Express and The Daily Telegraph, as well as Sky News and Huffington Post.

Tonge, who was later suspended and subsequently resigned from the Liberal Democrats, did not respond to or refute the points raised by the audience member likening Israel to ISIS, or of Jews being responsible for the Holocaust.

The PRC said “appalling and misinforming” articles “failed to accurately and objectively report” her role in discussions.

Sameh Habeeb, a spokesman for the London-based organisation, said: “We completely disagree with the audience member’s comments and do not tolerate either anti-Semitism or Holocaust denial.”

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