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July 21, 2015 2:26 pm

Local Friends of Israel Chapter Ousted From British Trade Unions Festival

avatar by Eliezer Sherman

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The Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival in Dorset, where Bournemouth Action for Israel was expelled for promoting Israel.

The Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival in Dorset, where Bournemouth Action for Israel was expelled for promoting Israel.

The Bournemouth Action for Israel chapter was told to pack up its stall and leave the annual Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival in Dorset over the weekend, simply for promoting Israel.

Organizers of the event had accepted the pro-Israel group as an alternative to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which has a several-year history at the festival already.

But as the event kicked off, it was apparent that newcomer Action for Israel was actually facing a hostile reception. Henry Schachter, who organized the pro-Israel stall, said people began shouting “you have no right to be here,” and threw the group’s materials onto the floor.

“We had expected some resistance,” Schachter told the BBC, “but not to the degree it actually turned out.” He said several compared them to the far-right British National Party.

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Explaining the eviction, an organizer told the BBC his volunteers had “enough to do without trying to manage a debate around the Middle East.” According to the BBC, the organizers said they were asked why they allowed the Action for Israel group to spread “racist propaganda” and “misinformation” about the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.

“It sickens me completely,” Rosland Schogger, another Action for Israel activist, said. “I am seriously contemplating whether Britain is the place for me to still be living in.”

Schachter a bit more optimistically said he was not discouraged from considering such events in the future.

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  • Joseph Feld

    The usual suspects — BBC, Guardian, Independent –slant their Middle East coverage and score points when groups like the Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival object to inviting a pro-Israel group to take part.

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