Banned From Charity Forum
Zionist Federation vice-chair Jonathan Hoffman hit out at charity group War on Want this week, after the human rights organisation banned the 56-year-old from an event to promote the launch of Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner's Guide.
Originally applying to serve on the panel to discuss the book by author Ben White, the Finchley resident's request was denied two weeks before the event, which takes place today. He told the Jewish News that he was contacted again this week and informed he would not be allowed to attend as an observer of the discussion, which War on Want claims is open to the public.
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War on Want's Executive Director John Hilary, who will head the discussion with White this evening at Toynbee Hall, told the Jewish News that Hoffman was informed he would not be permitted access to the event as he may 'disrupt' activities, saying: "It has been advised to us by fellow organisers of similar events that Jonathan Hoffman attends these functions strictly to disrupt proceedings. When he applied to attend the meeting, we informed him he would not be permitted, as we want to ensure the event is not hijacked by people who cannot act respectfully. His suggestion that there are any ulterior motives is absolutely atrocious."
Hilary added that attendees to the event were asked to apply for a seat beforehand, saying there would be members of the Jewish community present, though Hoffman was the only person denied admittance.
The ZF vice-chair has also raised the question of the legality of the group's actions, claiming they are a registered charity and thereby forced to abide by certain regulations: "It is astonishing though that a registered charity has done this. Under its CC9 obligation, War on Want has an obligation to issue material that is 'factually accurate' and which has 'a legitimate evidence base'. I would ask the Charity Commission how they feel that War on Want is fulfilling this obligation by sponsoring a meeting to discuss this disgraceful book."
The group responded that their events and platforms conform to CC9 policy, with Hilary saying: "The Charity Commission has made absolutely clear that we are within our rights, and this has been confirmed to us time and time again, despite Jonathan Hoffman's best efforts."
Ben White is a freelance Middle East journalist. A Facebook page set up for his book describes Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner's Guide as an explanation of the "root of the conflict and how apartheid applies to the situation in Palestine".
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