London, 27th April 2017
On Tuesday the 25th of April, the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) hosted an event in the Houses of Parliament titled “The Question of Jerusalem: Occupation, Discrimination, and Displacement.” This event was chaired by Mark Hendrick, the Labour MP for Preston, and included the following notable academic speakers: Professor Wendy Pullan of Cambridge University, Professor Penny Green of Queen Mary University, and Professor Kamel Hawwash of the University of Birmingham.
The discussion was based around the Israeli project to expand the Jewish population of Jerusalem whilst simultaneously reducing its Palestinian population – a project which has been ongoing since the city’s annexation in 1967. Speakers touched on several essential aspects of this topic and also provided an academic and statistical illustration of the conditions in occupied Jerusalem.
When the chair opened the floor for questions from the audience, four Anti-Palestinian activists immediately began to cause an immense disruption to the meeting by engaging in verbally abusive behavior towards the audience, the speakers and the chairman of the event MP Mark Hendrick. This forced the chairman to call upon Parliament police to remove the offenders from the premises.
The four Anti-Palestinian activists were identified as Jonathan Hoffman, Richard Millet, Mandy Blumental and Sharon Klaff. Hoffman was also removed by the police from a meeting in Parliament last month at the request of Lord Norman Warner when he behaved in a similarly aggressive manner.
In addition to their combative behavior, the four activists also filmed and audio recorded the event despite MP Hendrick’s clear statement that it is forbidden to do so. Their actions are therefore a severe violation of the House of Commons rules, which clearly state that photography is only allowed “with the permission of the Sponsor.”
The PRC is appalled by the behaviour exhibited by the four Anti-Palestinian activists, who have a long history of disrupting pro-Palestinian meetings and causing intentional rows at universities and in Parliament. Their consistent behavior is a direct attempt to impede freedom of expression and to prevent civilised discussions on the Arab-Israeli conflict.