Pro Palestine campaigners to launch legal challenge against press watchdog IPSO

The Palestininan Return Centre meeting in Parliament

Pro-Palestine campaigners are attempting to launch a legal challenge against press watchdog IPSO over incendiary coverage of a Palestinian meeting in Parliament last year.

Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine activist Jonathan Coulter is attempting to crowdfund initial legal costs.

In April IPSO, which is funded by newspapers themselves, mostly dismissed Coulter’s complaint on behalf of the Palestinian Return Centre about coverage by The Times and The Sunday Times.

The event in question was the launch of the Palestinian Return Centre’s campaign asking the UK government to apologise for the Balfour Declaration, the British edict which led to the creation of the Zionist regime and the dispossession of the Palestinian people.

Sunday Times columnist Rod Liddle accused the meeting’s chairperson, Jenny Tonge, of “Jew-hating,” and claimed the Palestinian Return Centre had “spouted the sort of stuff you might have heard in Berlin in 1936, or Tehran in 2012.”

A formal complaint of anti-Semitism at the meeting first came from Israeli ambassador Mark Regev, seemingly based on the account of notorious anti-Palestinian blogger David Collier.

But an official parliamentary investigation in March dismissed such claims, finding that “there was no takeover of the event by people promoting anti-Semitism.”

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However, IPSO claimed that Liddle’s distortion of the facts “was plainly comment” rather than reporting.

Coulter late said that “IPSO is a sham and an affront to fair process” which protects newspaper owners from accountability. The case “seeks to uphold our right to unfettered debate about Israel and Palestine,” he said.

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