Oxfam concern over Palestinian activist

Oxfam has cancelled an exhibition about Gaza over concerns about a pro-Palestinian activist who was due to co-host the event with the charity.

Gaza: Through My Eyes was due to take place tonight at the East London Mosque in Whitechapel, with Ibrahim Hewitt as keynote speaker.

Oxfam pulled out after it was forwarded details of comments attributed to Mr Hewitt about homosexuality and Jews.

In response, the activist said allegations that he was antisemitic were due to “my ignorant statement” made 25 years ago in which he referred to the “so-called Holocaust”.

Oxfam said: “We are concerned at comments about homosexuality attributed to Mr Hewitt, of which we were previously unaware, and the event has now been cancelled.”

On Twitter, Mr Hewitt said the quotes attributed to him were “very old” and “taken out of context”.

He added: “I don’t advocate discrimination of any kind.”

James Bloodworth, editor of left-wing blog site Left Foot Forward (LFF), said he had alerted the charity after learning that Mr Hewitt was to appear.

He said: “To their credit, they immediately cancelled the event. This is commendable. It’s a shame they didn’t do a bit of basic research in the first place.”

Mr Hewitt said LFF had not contacted him before repeating “serious allegations” about him.

A spokesman for the Community Security Trust said LFF’s intervention was “welcome” and Oxfam had “reached the correct decision”.

Last updated: 5:45pm, January 16 2014