Manchester health trust 'Israel boycott' faces legal challenge

The NHS trust that bowed to a union's Israel boycott and cancelled an Israeli speaker is likely to face legal action for breaking anti-discrimination law.

The Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust cancelled last week's engagement with Israeli professor Moty Cristal after the event's partner organisation, Unison, refused to participate in the Israeli's NHS workshop. Prof Cristal was to give a master-class on conflict resolution in health care.

This week Mr Cristal confirmed "legal possibilities" are part of "examining all possible ways to fight and challenge this outrageous decision. I was coming purely as a professional trainer from a background of working with the UK health service since 2003."

The Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council and the Manchester Jewish Representative Council have contacted the trust and are understood to be mounting a legal challenge.

BOD senior vice-president Jonathan Arkush said there is a "strong trend of opinion" that Unison and the trust behaved unlawfully and a legal claim is "under active consideration.

"The NHS trust has found itself the latest victim - among Manchester University, supermarkets, the Royal Albert Hall, the Globe Theatre and the Parrs Wood School - of intolerant bullying nonsense by boycotters."

The trust said its decision was a practical response to Unison's stance and "the trust does not and would not support any discriminatory action taken on the basis of race or nationality as this would clearly be unlawful and contrary to the NHS Constitution."

Last updated: 11:10am, May 17 2012