The controversial peer Lord Ahmed has cancelled plans to host members of an extreme right-wing group at the House of Lords this week.
Lord Ahmed, currently suspended from the Labour Party for allegedly offering a “bounty” for the assassination of US President Obama, was due to chair a meeting at the Lords on restoring diplomatic relations with Iran. He said he had not been informed about the background of the participants.
According to anti-fascist campaigners Searchlight, the event organiser was Ministry of Peace founder Dr James Thring, an anti-Zionist activist who has been vocally supported by former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke.
A regular guest on Press TV and a supporter of former Libyan leader Colonel Gadaffi, he has previously described Israel, on the website Jailing Opinions, as “an illegal, criminal, psychopathic, belligerent, apartheid entity.”
Others invited included Alexander Baron, a member of the extremist New Right, who runs a website aimed at “exposing Zionist… misinformation on the Holocaust”, which he believes has been “greatly exaggerated”, and Aharon Cohen, from the anti-Zionist, strictly Orthodox Neturei Karta, who attended a meeting of the New Right last week.
Lord Ahmed insisted that the arranged meeting had been an error, and that he had only learned about the background of the participants after the JC contacted the Labour Party. “I was asked by James from the Ministry of Peace to talk about a possible attack on Iran and I had agreed to host the meeting, but was not involved with its organisation. When I found out that these people were involved and invited, I cancelled it.
“I have no intention of supporting anyone who is a Holocaust denier, who is anti-Jewish or anti-religion. I have no time for them, I would not invite anyone who would cause harm to Jews.
“I have a difference of opinion over Israel and Palestine, but I believe theologically I have more in common with the Jewish faith that I have with some of my Muslim friends.”
Jonathan Arkush, vice-president of the Board of Deputies, said: “Lord Ahmed was either naïve or ill-advised to contemplate a meeting with people on the far right and Holocaust deniers.”