Caterer could boy­cott rally re­fusal venue

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY JOSH JACK­MAN

A LEAD­ING kosher caterer has said she would be “re­luc­tant” to work at a venue which pulled out of host­ing a ma­jor pro-Is­rael rally.

Po­ten­tial clients who wanted to hold a sim­chah at the fa­cil­ity would not be en­cour­aged to do so, Celia Clyne said.

Se­cu­rity fears fol­low­ing ap­par­ent “gross in­tim­i­da­tion” from ac­tivists was blamed last week for the de­ci­sion by bosses at Manch­ester’s Sheri­dan Suite to refuse to host a ma­jor pro-Is­rael rally.

Mrs Clyne, of the Celia Clyne Ban­quet­ing firm which has catered events in the city for more than 25 years, said: “I would def­i­nitely be re­luc­tant to use it.”

She added: “I would not en­cour­age peo­ple to use a venue like that, that’s for sure.”

The Sheri­dan Suite ad­ver­tises its ban­quet­ing fa­cil­i­ties for Jewish wed­dings and has in the past hosted a num­ber of Jewish char­ity events.

It has not ex­plained its de­ci­sion and de­clined to pro­vide a com­ment when con­tacted this week.

Raphi Bloom, co-chair of the North West Friends of Is­rael (NWFOI) group which was or­gan­is­ing the rally, said a new venue had not yet been found.

To avoid a re­peat of last week’s con­tro­versy, or­gan­is­ers plan to an­nounce the lo­ca­tion of the re-ar­ranged event only on the day be­fore it is due to take place on March 13.

NWFOI hopes that with­hold­ing de­tails of the new site will stop an­tiIs­rael boy­cott ac­tivists from ar­rang­ing a protest or chal­leng­ing the hosts, as hap­pened on the Sheri­dan Suite’s Face­book page last week.

Mr Bloom said: “All the speak­ers have re­con­firmed from the last one, as well as a few ex­tra ones whose names we’ll be re­leas­ing shortly. It’ll be big­ger and bet­ter than the first one would have been.”

Around 2,000 peo­ple had been ex­pected to at­tend the “Say No To Ter­ror: Stand With Is­rael” rally, which had been due to take place on Sun­day.

Theeven­thadthe­sup­portof theChief Rabbi, Board of Deputies, Jewish Lead­er­ship Coun­cil, Zion­ist Fed­er­a­tion, the Is­raeli em­bassy and grass­roots groups.

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