Labour Friends of Israel calls for anti-Israel speaker to be barred from Parliament event

By Naomi Firsht, January 29, 2016
LFI chair Joan Ryan

LFI chair Joan Ryan

The chair of Labour Friends of Israel has called for a speaker to be disinvited from an event in Parliament because he said he would dance in the streets if there was a nuclear attack on Israel.

Editor-in-chief of London-based news site Rai al-Youm Abdel Bari Atwan is due to be moderator at an event run by Labour friends of Palestine and the Middle East next week.

Mr Atwan, who is from Gaza, sparked controversy in 2007 when, speaking on Lebanese television about Iran’s nuclear capability, he said: "If the Iranian missiles strike Israel, by Allah, I will go to Trafalgar Square and dance with delight."

In a letter, LFI chair Joan Ryan asked LFPME chair Grahame Morris to withdraw the invitation to Mr Atwan or to withdraw LFPME from hosting the meeting.

Ms Ryan, MP for Enfield North, said: “In 2010, at an appearance at LSE, Mr Atwan was questioned about these comments... The JC reports he also suggested that the 'Jewish lobby' was 'extremely dangerous and is endangering the whole planet, the whole world', and that it 'controlled' the American Senate, Congress and media."

Urging Mr Morris to withdraw the invitation, she added: “I am sure that, like all Labour MPs, you will be keen to demonstrate our party’s utter intolerance of antisemitism and revulsion at attacks on Israel.”

Last updated: 12:35pm, January 29 2016