Blogger forced out of anti-Israel parliament meeting

By Jennifer Lipman, July 29, 2010
Jeremy Corbyn MP

Jeremy Corbyn MP

A prominent pro-Israel blogger was forcibly removed from a Westminster meeting at which Israeli Arab Knesset members said the Jewish state “is much worse than the apartheid regime in South Africa.”

Rich Millett described what happened at the event, chaired by Labour's Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn, as “shameful”. He expressed concern that future anti-Israel meetings “will be by guest list only”, meaning such statements will “go unreported”.

Mr Millett, who has a Masters in Politics and Society in the Middle East and is a qualified solicitor, arrived at the House of Commons for a meeting organised by supporters of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

But he said that despite having emailed to check he could attend, he received no response and was immediately approached by a member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians and accused of being there “to disrupt the meeting”.
Mr Millett said: “Suddenly three police officers were bearing down on me.

“One grasped my upper arm and forcibly led me away. My details were taken and I was escorted out of Parliament.”
He added: “It wasn’t a case of ‘not on the list you’re not coming in’ but of ‘don’t like your views you’re not coming in’.”

He said a friend who was allowed into the meeting spoke in support of Israel and afterwards was surrounded and intimidated in an incident witnessed and recorded by the police.

Mr Millett said appeals to be let in to those at the event, including Mr Corbyn, were ignored. Yet he said that at pro-Israel events dissenting audience members would almost never be thrown out.

“I am surprised that an MP can treat it as her or her own personal fiefdom. Parliament is for all.

“If one wants to hold a private meeting then hold it in a house, not the House.”

At the talk, MK Haneen Zoubi, who was on the Gaza-bound flotilla, said: "Everyone in Europe who supports Israel, financially and politically, must know they also support its racism, oppression, occupation and siege.”

Another MK, Jamal Zahalka, talked about his views on “democracy” in Israel.

But as Mr Millett said, at the meeting no one spoke up for his “basic democratic right” to attend.

Last updated: 2:06pm, July 29 2010