Israel advocate barred by Yachad after staff insult

A pro-Israel activist has accused advocacy group Yachad of hypocrisy after he was banned from a public meeting for sending an abusive email.

Clive Hyman was barred from the meeting after he sent dozens of leading community figures an email which attacked Yachad director Hannah Weisfeld and compared her to a character in a popular cartoon series.

Mr Hyman has now apologised for forwarding the message.

But he claims that Yachad refused to allow him to attend the meeting because of his support for the Zionist Federation following the row over Yachad’s failed membership application to the ZF last month.

Yachad said it had no obligation to admit members of the public who were abusive to staff, and said a number of people with views that opposed the group’s policies on Israel and the Palestinians had attended the meeting.

Mr Hyman was involved in a 90-minute stand-off at the gate when the meeting took place at the London Jewish Cultural Centre in Golders Green, north west London, last Thursday.

He said: “Someone sent me an email which showed Hannah Weisfeld and compared her to a cartoon character. I thought it was very funny and sent it off to a load of people.

“I had loads of emails back complaining and with people calling me a bigot. I realised I had upset people and sent an unreserved apology. I thought that was the end of the matter.”

Mr Hyman, who describes himself as an independent activist working to promote Israel’s cause, said he was unhappy with the support shown for Yachad by communal leaders following the row with the ZF. He wanted to attend last week’s event to learn more about the organisation after seeing a Yachad advert in the JC.

But after applying for a ticket he received an email from Yachad’s board explaining that he would be banned.

The Yachad email stated: “Given the emails that you have circulated recently in relation to Yachad — in particular emails that have been of a personal nature directed at an employee of the organisation — we do not feel your attendance at this event would be conducive to us achieving the aims of the evening, and therefore politely request that you do not attend.”

Mr Hyman replied, claiming the ban was “totalitarian” and “flew in the face of democracy”. Yachad told him that those attending the session would have “differing perspectives from Yachad”.

Last updated: 4:40pm, March 21 2013