Jewish Chronicle pays £50k to Palestinian charity after implying terrorist links

The newspaper has accepted that Interpal has never been involved with or provided support for any terrorist activity

The Jewish Chronicle has apologised and paid £50,000 to the Palestinian relief charity Interpal after implying the charity had links to terrorist activity.

The newspaper had referred to the charity as being listed by the US as a "specially designated global terrorist organisation" in 2003.

But Interpal has repeatedly contested the US designation, the apology from the Jewish Chronicle said, and the charity "continues to operate fully lawfully under the aegis of the Charity Commission".

The newspaper’s apology said: "We accept that neither Interpal, nor its trustees, have ever been involved with or provided support for terrorist activity of any kind.

"We apologise unreservedly to the trustees for any distress caused and have agreed to pay them damages for libel."

Ibrahim Hewitt, chair of Interpal, said the apology and payment represented a "welcome resolution" to the case. 

The Jewish Chronicle also published an article about Interpal’s work in Palestine, written by Hewitt, as part of the agreement between the charity and the newspaper.

The apology retracted suggestions by the newspaper that Hewitt had expressed extremist views about punishments for adulterers and gay people.

The apology said: "The views attributed to Mr Hewitt arise out of a book he wrote some 25 years ago regarding the interpretation of the Koran.

"Mr Hewitt has asked us to make clear that he does not condone discrimination in any form, including against gay people or adulterers, and we are happy to do so."

Interpal received an apology and £120,000 in damages, plus legal costs, from the Daily Mail in June after the newspaper published two stories in August 2018 claiming the charity supported a "hate festival" in Gaza in which children acted out the murder of Jewish people.

The apology by Associated Newspapers, which publishes the Daily Mail and MailOnline, said it accepted that, although Interpal was among the many organisations that had donated to the festival, it had not funded or supported the play, which formed a very small part of the event, and had no prior knowledge of it.

The charity’s trustees had also condemned the play as soon as they became aware of it, the statement from Associated Newspapers said.

The Daily Mail’s second article also referred to Interpal having been listed in the US as a "specially designated global terrorist organisation", which left readers with the impression that Interpal was a terrorist organisation and that its trustees were therefore to be considered terrorists.

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