The Argus ran a story this afternoon about a security crisis at Hove Town Hall. The Argus reported that the City Council and local police were concerned about the threat posed by ‘a planned pro-Palestine protest’ to the lighting of the Chanukah Menorah – so concerned in fact that the ceremony had to be held ‘behind closed doors’.
The Argus also reported that ‘two sources close to the city’s pro-Palestinian movement told The Argus no demonstration was ever planned’. In later online updates the Argus reported that ‘there was no demonstration’.
Brighton & Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign wishes to state clearly that no such protest was ever planned by local campaigners for Palestinian rights. Religious ceremonies would never be targeted by pro-Palestine groups. BHPSC is naturally sorry to learn that concerns over security disrupted the Menorah-lighting ceremony.
Questions must be asked about the source of this unfounded rumour, as they appear to be using religious sensitivities to discredit legitimate political protest. The Argus judged that the security alert was newsworthy: what was newsworthy was that rumours about a non-existent protest were spread in order to create a security crisis. The important questions for the press to ask are: who spread them? and why?