Add new comment

Submitted by John D on Thu, 28/07/2016 - 12:21

There was a short exchange of views here on the Tolpuddle Festival thuggish expulsion of a pro-Israel stall. This year, hooligan thuggery will not be required. Good manners and comradely solidarity will be evident.

(From the JC) . . .

Last year the Bournemouth Action for Israel (BAFI) group was asked to leave the Tolpuddle Festival after volunteers were verbally abused, compared to the BNP and their stall defaced by pro-Palestinians.

Despite the unsettling experience, BAFI decided to apply for a stall at the summer event in Dorset once again this year – only to be turned down.

In a letter to BAFI co-chair Dr Melvyn Melkman, festival organiser Nigel Costley said: “On this occasion they have decided not to accept your application for a stall.” No explanation was given and when Dr Melkman wrote to the TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady, he received a response which supported that decision.

However, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign was once again allowed to hold a stall at the event, despite the fact that its supporters were involved in the trouble last year. Last year the Bournemouth Action for Israel (BAFI) group was asked to leave the Tolpuddle Festival after volunteers were verbally abused, compared to the BNP and their stall defaced by pro-Palestinians.
Despite the unsettling experience, BAFI decided to apply for a stall at the summer event in Dorset once again this year – only to be turned down.
In a letter to BAFI co-chair Dr Melvyn Melkman, festival organiser Nigel Costley said: “On this occasion they have decided not to accept your application for a stall.”
No explanation was given and when Dr Melkman wrote to the TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady, he received a response which supported that decision.
However, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign was once again allowed to hold a stall at the event, despite the fact that its supporters were involved in the trouble last year.
Dr Melkman said: “By allowing the pro-Palestinian group to have a stall and not ourselves, the TUC is exhibiting significant discrimination and double standards with its pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel bias.
“It is not allowing freedom of speech and promoting open debate. It is preventing the Labour movement from hearing Israel’s point of view whilst allowing the pro-Palestinian group at Tolpuddle to denigrate and delegitimise Israel with misleading propaganda.”
A TUC spokesperson said: “The TUC South West regional executive reserves the right to turn down stall applications. As a volunteer-run event it is not always possible to accommodate every application and priority is given to organisations with longstanding associations with the trade union movement."
The Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival celebrates agricultural workers who set up the first trade union in 1834. Held earlier this month, it is dubbed by organisers as a “a weekend of family entertainment, stalls, political debate, comedy, music and a grand procession”.
The reasons that organisers gave last year for asking BAFI to leave was that they could not guarantee their safety. However, in a statement later released to the press Mr Costley, said that “stewards had enough to do without trying to manage a debate on the Middle East”.
Dr Melkman said: “By allowing the pro-Palestinian group to have a stall and not ourselves, the TUC is exhibiting significant discrimination and double standards with its pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel bias.
“It is not allowing freedom of speech and promoting open debate. It is preventing the Labour movement from hearing Israel’s point of view whilst allowing the pro-Palestinian group at Tolpuddle to denigrate and delegitimise Israel with misleading propaganda.”

A TUC spokesperson said: “The TUC South West regional executive reserves the right to turn down stall applications. As a volunteer-run event it is not always possible to accommodate every application and priority is given to organisations with longstanding associations with the trade union movement."

The Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival celebrates agricultural workers who set up the first trade union in 1834. Held earlier this month, it is dubbed by organisers as a “a weekend of family entertainment, stalls, political debate, comedy, music and a grand procession”.

The reasons that organisers gave last year for asking BAFI to leave was that they could not guarantee their safety. However, in a statement later released to the press Mr Costley, said that “stewards had enough to do without trying to manage a debate on the Middle East”.

John

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.