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September 3, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 8:17am

Jewish Chronicle pays out £50,000 and apologises for wrongly linking charity to terror group

By Charlotte Tobitt

The Jewish Chronicle has paid out £50,000 in libel damages to a UK charity that provides aid to Palestinians after wrongly linking it to terrorism.

The Chronicle claimed in an article in March that Interpal had been listed as a “specially designated terrorist organisation” by the United States in 2003 for allegedly funding militant Islamist group Hamas.

But Interpal, which is regulated by the UK Charity Commission, said it has always “vehemently denied” the allegation and filed a legal complaint against the Chronicle through solicitors Carter-Ruck.

The charity said in a statement: “To date and despite repeated requests, neither Interpal, its trustees nor even the Charity Commission have ever been provided by US authorities with any evidence whatsoever to support the US designation.”

In its apology, The Chronicle 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.”

The Chronicle also apologised for wrongly claiming that Interpal chairman of trustees Ibrahim Hewitt (pictured) held “extremist views” in the report.

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“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,” the paper said in its apology.

The offending article has been removed and the Chronicle has undertaken not to repeat the false allegations.

As part of the settlement, the newspaper has published an article by Hewitt, who is also senior editor of the Middle East Monitor website, about Interpal’s work.

In a statement Hewitt said the settlement was a “welcome resolution”.

The Chronicle made an operating loss of £1.6m for the year ending 30 June 2018, according to the latest available company accounts. This followed a loss of £1.1m in 2017 and £460,000 in 2016.

In June the 178-year-old weekly newspaper’s future was guaranteed by a seven-figure cash injection from some 20 “community-minded individuals, families and charitable trusts”.

Picture: BBC Newsnight/Youtube screenshot

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