IHRC is demanding that a Labour MP apologise for asking it to remove Palestine flags from its shop front in north London.
Barry Gardiner, the MP for Brent North, marched into the headquarters of IHRC in Wembley last week, demanding that the organisation remove Palestine flags it displays for sale on the gounds that they had caused offence to a constituent.
Mr Gardiner said he had been approached by a constituent who felt the flags were causing tension in the area, presumably because they had the words “Boycott Israel” written on them.
During a standoff with IHRC staff and volunteers, Mr Gardiner admitted that there was nothing wrong with the slogan.
Needless to say, IHRC politely declined his request and continues to display the flags in its shop window.
However, we have written to Mr Gardiner asking him to apologise for this blatant attempt to stifle our freedom of expression.
This is a brazen attempt to bully people into silence over their support of Palestinian rights, a tactic which is increasingly being employed by the pro-Israel lobby. Over the last couple of years neighbouring shops have removed Palestine flags after being arrested by police and being threatened by constituents.
The letter also makes the point that Mr Gardiner has been nowhere to be seen when Muslims in Brent North have complained about repeated instances of Islamophobia in the constituency such as the deliberate depositing of dog excrement outside their premises.
IHRC chair Massoud Shadjareh said: “Mr Gardiner has failed to come the support of those who have suffered blatant racism and Islamophobia, of which support for Palestine has become emblematic. He has allowed himself to become a tool for implementing the Israeli policy of banning the Palestine flag in this country.”
The full letter can be read here.