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Bomb threat halts screening of film exposing attempts to silence pro-Corbyn left

Police evacuated 200 people from a Liverpool women’s education centre on Tuesday evening after bomb threats against a film screening organised by Jewish Voice for Labour.

An anonymous caller told a young receptionist at Blackburne House that there were “two bombs that would kill a lot of people.” As a result a screening of Jon Pullman’s film “The political lynching of Jackie Walker” had to be abandoned, forcing onto the street the 100-strong audience, plus 100 other staff and users of the Grade II listed building attending a writers’ group, a pilates class and a teacher training session.

The film is an incisive and chilling expose of attempts to silence critics of Israel, in particular those who support the socialist project of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. It connects the global struggle against racism and the far right with the Palestinian cause – a cause which is increasingly subject to censorship, often using unwarranted accusations of antisemitism. Jackie Walker, an irrepressible anti-racist, socialist campaigner, is a prominent victim of this silencing campaign.

Edinburgh-based activist filmmaker Jon Pullman posted on Facebook:

“The Israeli-sponsored campaign to discredit and vilify principled campaigners for Palestinian human rights, aided and abetted by both media and pro-Israel parliamentary groups, will ultimately be exposed for what it is; an attempt to protect the world’s only apartheid state and provide cover for the escalating project to wipe Palestine from history.

This is no peripheral issue. In the growing international showdown between right and left, between might and right, the violent racism of contemporary political Zionism acts as a model for muscular ultra-nationalism and provides impetus for ethnic supremacists everywhere. It must be confronted and overcome.

This film attempts to lend energy to that struggle and will be seen.”

JVL had hired security staff in anticipation of disruption by right-wing pro-Israel fanatics who routinely attempt to sabotage pro-Palestinian events, especially those organised by dissenting Jews. Police are investigating the source of the anonymous call but it appears that the bomb threat  – a criminal act – indicates growing desperation on the part of those attempting to suppress a narrative they do not wish to be heard.

The incident was immediately covered by the Liverpool Echo, with a report including a video interview by JVL’s media officer Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi. It was then picked up by the Guardian and generated a wave of internet comments.