Press Statement: PRC slams inaccurate & false media coverage on Baroness Jenny Tonge's House of Lords event

Press Statement: PRC slams inaccurate & false media coverage on Baroness Jenny Tonge's House of Lords event


London, 28-10-2016 - The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) condemns the appalling and misinforming media articles which consistently fail to accurately and objectively report the event hosted in the House of Lords on October 25th. The event hosted by Jenny Tonge was dedicated to launch "Balfour Apology Campaign" which seeks an official apology from the British government.


As stated yesterday in a press release, the Palestinian Return Centre condemns these press articles which report inaccurate information, deceive the public and result in wrongly representing the Centre.

We have decided to respond to some articles that provide blatant errors and are intentionally misleading, though this is not a comprehensive account.

In the article written by Anil Dawar and published at page 7 of the Daily Express on Friday October 28, it is repeatedly alluded that a speaker from the Palestinian Return Centre made anti-Semitic comments and compared the state of Israel to Islamic State (IS). This is absolutely incorrect. Anil Dawar fails to provide a crucial detail to the story, which is that the comment came from the audience (a Jewish Rabbi member of the Neturei Karta). We condemn this distortion of reality which is at best lazy and bad journalism, or worse it is done in bad faith.

In an article written by Kate McCann, Senior Political Correspondent at The Daily Telegraph, at page 2 on Friday October 28, it is clear that the omission of a key fact is misleading the public on what actually happened at the event. McCann writes “Lady Tonge resigned following a decision to suspend her after she hosted an event where a speaker reportedly compared Israel to the terrorist group Isil and Jews were blamed for the Holocaust”. This “poor” and “lazy” journalism notably omits from the story that the comment came from a member of the audience. Therefore it does not represent the views of Lady Tonge or the other speakers on the panel nor the PRC which organized the event. Adding to this, McCann does not see important to mention the main purpose of the event and the discussion which centered on the launch of the Balfour Apology Campaign.

In an article by Daniel Martin, Chief Political Correspondent of the Daily Mail, at page 26 on Friday October 28, 2016 it is written “A Liberal Democrat peer who hosted an anti-Semitic event in Parliament was finally forced out of the party last night”. This utter misleading sentence attempts to suggest the event organized by the Palestinian Return Centre was anti-Semitic. What Martin’s article fails to include is that the event centered on the launch of the Balfour Apology Campaign and that none of the speakers on the panel nor the chair had made any anti-Semitic accusations. Those comments were made by a member of the audience who also happens to be Jewish Rabbi member of Neturei Karta.

In an article[1] published on the Guardian online on October 27th, the author Harriet Sherwood provides a plethora of erroneous information. First, she starts her article stating “Jenny Tonge, a former Liberal Democat peer, has quit the party after she was suspended over alleged anti-Semitic comments.” This is absolutely wrong since it seem to suggest that Lady Tonge has made anti-Semitic comments for which she has not. Then she writes “The remarks were made by a speaker at the meeting, which was organised by the Palestinian Return Centre, which live-streamed the event on its Facebook page.” Sherwood misleadingly suggests that the remarks were made by a speaker of the centre while it was a member of the audience who during the Q & A session of the meeting decided to make an intervention. The Guardian, along with other outlets, continues to silence Palestinian voices since it did not seek a comment from the organizers while it gave a platform to the Israeli embassy, which did not even attend the event.

Jon Craig, Chief Political Correspondent for Sky News, authored an article[2] published online on Friday October 28 deceitfully writes “One speaker apparently compared Israel to Islamic State, and suggested the Jews were blamed for the Holocaust.” Again, the failure to acknowledge that the person who made those comments was a member of the audience is done with the intent to suggest that the speaker was a member of the organization that hosted the event.

In an article[3] authored by Graeme Demianyk, published on the Huffington Post online on October 27 the information that is presented is misleading and not factual. Demianyk writes that “A Liberal Democrat peer and former MP has quit the party after being suspended for hosting an event in Parliament where the audience applauded as someone blamed Jews for the Holocaust.” It ishHard to believe that he video that Demianyk provides in the article as evidence actually discredits his own statement. In that video it is clear that no one in the audience clapped after the ultra-orthodox Jew from the Neturei Karta made the alleged anti-Semitic comment. It is absolutely obvious that after that comment Lady Tonge went on to talk about a completely different topic, that is the BDS campaign, and that the applause that followed was directed to her statement. We call on the Huffington Post to correct this blatant error, also for the sake of their own credibility.

The Palestinian Return Centre also condemns the biased Times article[4] which initiated the row providing inaccurate information as a result of “lazy” and “bad” journalism. On early Thursday, 27th of October, Kennedy published an article titled, "Jews blamed for Holocaust at ‘shameful’ House of Lords event". The article of Kennedy is based on a blog post by David Collier who is a known pro-Israel blogger. The article described the event of the Palestinian Return Centre as “‘shameful’ House of Lords event". Kennedy’s choice for the title fails to accurately depict the purpose and outcome the event, which centered on the launch of the Balfour Apology Campaign. He also gave a platform to the Israeli embassy in London where a spokesperson commented on the matter. Meanwhile, he failed to contact the centre for a comment on the issue.

In light of the above points raised, the Palestinian Return Centre demands that those media publications correct the erroneous facts presented and provide an accurate account of the events.

 We also intend to seek legal action for the false accusations and defamatory allegations directed against the centre.


Note to the Editors

The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC)

The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) a London based international organisation in Consultative Status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) since 2015. PRC has been operating from London since 1996 and held dozens of workshops, conferences, seminars and meetings across the British and European parliaments as well as the United Nation. Since 2003, the PRC has also been granted membership in the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

Balfour Apology Campaign

Balfour Apology Campaign is a UK based campaign launched by the Palestinian Return Centre  in 2013 to urge the British establishment to atone for the 1917 Balfour Declaration. Britain’s legacy in Palestine marked an historical breach against the aspirations of the people of Palestine and shattered its hopes for freedom and self-determination.  Our mission is to seek an official apology from the British government for issuing the catastrophic Balfour Declaration. We believe that Britain recognizing its past colonial crimes committed in Palestine is a necessary step towards achieving peace, justice and reconciliation.

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