Palestinian Mission in Britain removes Atzmon articles

By Marcus Dysch, December 15, 2011

The Palestinian Mission in Britain has bowed to pressure from the Board of Deputies and removed articles by Israeli-born antisemite Gilad Atzmon from its website.

The Palestinian Authority's UK envoy Manuel Hassassian ordered the removal of links to Atzmon's work, including to one article which accused Israel of organ trafficking and harvesting, after he was told of the complaints from the Board.

Last week the Advertising Standards Authority upheld a complaint against the mission for displaying a map which included the whole of Israel as part of Palestine on the website.

The site publishes news and information about Mr Hassassian, as well as "academic links" including the Goldstone Report and material on supporting boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

Board president Vivian Wineman expressed anger after the Foreign Office said last month that it could not order the mission to remove the articles because they did not breach race hate laws.

Board senior vice-president Jonathan Arkush said: "The Board strongly protested about the links to Atzmon and communicated its disgust to the FCO. The removal of the links within days makes it absolutely plain that after the objections of the Board and FCO reached it, the PA was embarrassed by the link to Atzmon, who is after all a deeply controversial and distasteful individual.

"The PA has moved to distance themselves from him, but it reflects discredit on the PA that it should ever have thought fit to put up links to Atzmon in the first place."

The mission had previously said it was "not convinced" the articles were a "problem", but swiftly changed its position when Mr Hassassian was told that a staff member had uploaded the links without his knowledge.

A mission spokeswoman confirmed the removal and said: "Mr Hassassian did not know the articles had been added. When the person who did it told him he said remove it."

She said Mr Hassassian had been informed of the complaints and did not want the mission to be linked to Mr Atzmon.

Last updated: 2:28pm, December 15 2011