Richard Millett, an outspoken, London-based freelance Jewish writer, was blackballed at an Amnesty International lecture on Saturday night that featured writer Ben White, known for his anti-Israel screeds, who refused to allow Millet to ask a question, he wrote on his blog.
In fact, after ignoring his raised hand, which Millett said had been up for 30 minutes, the moderator of the event, David Hearst, former foreign leader writer for The Guardian newspaper, addressed him directly, saying, “I know exactly what you’re up to. And who you are. And who you write for.”
Millett wrote, “So, what was I up to? Who am I? Who do I write for? Well, since starting this blog in 2009 I have mainly written for myself. I have occasionally written for the Jerusalem Post, the Jewish News, the Jewish Chronicle and CifWatch, but I never realized writing could get me boycotted.”
“But here’s the point; I have never had any dealings with Hearst. So, how did he know who I was? He was obviously primed but why? I have never been disallowed from asking a question at Amnesty before, although I was once threatened at an Amnesty event by Amnesty Campaign Manager Krystian Benedict, who has since been moved to work on Syria and who was present last night.”
Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor has criticized Amnesty for employing known anti-Israel activists as its lead researchers, especially those based in London, including Benedict.
Millett said, “My question to White was going to be simply this: Seeing that White relies heavily on statements by Israeli politicians to paint Israel as racist, I wanted to know whether the same could also be said of White particularly after he once stated that (British Jewish author) Howard Jacobson’s face was ‘another reason to support a boycott of Habima,’ the Israeli theater company. I’m sure White would have batted that away quite easily, wouldn’t he? He reads my blog (he mentions it), so he should feel free to leave an answer” on the blog.
In his blog post, Millett also included photos of White’s anti-Israel slideshow presentation.
Watch Millett’s interaction at the Amnesty International lecture.