Kent Ken O'Keefe invitation withdrawn

A Palestine solidarity group has withdrawn its invitation to an anti-Israel activist following controversy over comments he made comparing Jews to Nazis.

Kent Palestine Solidarity group and Kent University's Islamic Society said the planned Israel Apartheid Week lecture by former US marine Ken O'Keefe had been cancelled following consultations. The event had been due to take place at the university on Friday.

The groups had come under pressure from anti-extremism organisation Student Rights, which said Mr O'Keefe was "delusional and hate-filled".

Mr O'Keefe claimed Mossad was "directly involved" in the September 11 terror attacks during an event at Middlesex University last month. He clashed with Jewish audience members after comparing them to Nazis.

The Kent groups said: "The organisers of Israeli Apartheid Week have deliberated and come to a decision to cancel the lecture by Ken O'Keefe.

"Due to the recent controversy surrounding O'Keefe, it would jeopardise the primary objective of organising IAW, which is to raise awareness of the existence of apartheid and human rights violations of Israel and the actions we can take to stop this."

In a statement Student Rights said: "This is a welcome move and we are glad that [the organisers] realised that delusional and hate-filled speakers like Ken O'Keefe can only damage their attempts to raise awareness of their issue.

"However, their statement does not go quite far enough and should condemn his praise for violent organisations, 9/11 conspiracy theory and latent antisemitism. Simply cancelling his talk due to recent controversy is not enough."

Last updated: 1:03pm, March 15 2012