Bishop cancels Walker talk

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY LEE HARPIN

A TALK by anti-Is­rael ac­tivist Jackie Walker in a church hall was called off on Mon­day fol­low­ing an in­ter­ven­tion by the Bishop of Ed­in­burgh.

Ms Walker, who is fac­ing ex­pul­sion from the Labour Party over com­ments about Holo­caust Memo­rial Day and an­tisemitism, had been sched­uled to speak at a Scot­tish Pales­tine Sol­i­dar­ity Cam­paign event near to the city’s cas­tle.

But Epis­co­palian Bishop John Armes emailed the group to say he was can­celling the event, at St Columbia’s hall, af­ter gaug­ing “wider im­pli­ca­tions” of stag­ing a talk by the con­tro­ver­sial ac­tivist.

In a state­ment Bishop Armes said: “We sup­port free­dom of speech; we also seek close and friendly re­la­tion­ships with peo­ple of ev­ery faith.

“On this oc­ca­sion I con­sid­ered that these two im­por­tant val­ues col­lided. I be­lieve that the or­gan­is­ers of all po­lit­i­cal gath­er­ings must take care to en­sure that in­di­vid­u­als and re­li­gious groups are not sin­gled out for abuse be­cause of their be­liefs.

“My ad­vice was that it would have been un­ac­cept­able for a gath­er­ing to take place in one of our churches that might en­cour­age such abuse.”

Ms Walker later gave a speech out­side the church in which she stated: “Let me re­it­er­ate, op­po­si­tion to a Jewish state is and re­mains a le­git­i­mate hon­ourable po­lit­i­cal po­si­tion.”

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