Hay speeches on flotilla prompt upset

June 10, 2010

Labour peer Lord Winston was at the forefront of a walkout last week from a talk by the leading radical lawyer, Michael Mansfield QC, when Mr Mansfield called Israel a "pariah state."

The talk, at the annual Hay literary festival, sponsored by the Guardian, prompted angry complaints from Jewish audience members. But Mr Mansfield and another speaker, comedian Jeremy Hardy, were defended by Hay Festival organiser Peter Florence.

Mr Hardy defended his decision to speak about Gaza instead of promoting his latest book. He said: "On a day when the world was focused on the issue of the flotilla, and I was not sure whether a very close friend had been killed, I didn't feel able to ignore it."

Last updated: 1:00pm, June 10 2010