One Nation’s Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts were set to hold an event with members of Melbourne’s Jewish community on Sunday, but cancelled it yesterday citing security threats. Hanson wrote on Facebook:

“While there were threat towards myself and Senator Roberts what worried me the most was that people attending may have come to harm. I didn’t not want any fights to break out between protesters and my supporters. That was a risk I could not accept. This was the main reason I had to cancel this event.”

Roberts also posted on Facebook about the cancellation, writing:

“Peaceful protests are a very welcome and acceptable demonstration of our democracy. Violent and intimidating protests against a peaceful Jewish community wanting to hear Pauline and I speak is unAustralian.”

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The event was to be hosted by a new group called Independent Jewish Council of Australia, a conservative group founded by Avi Yemeni, a gym owner known for recruiting members of his gym to fight with the Israeli Defence Force. Yemini told The Age he had invited the senators to talk about issues with Islamic immigration and section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. The event was originally meant to take place at Glen Eira Town Hall, but it was moved to a pub when the council decided they didn’t want to be associated with it. Protesters have disputed Hanson and Roberts’ claims they had to cancel due to threats, with protest organiser Jordy Silverstein saying in a statement:

“While Roberts and Hanson have cited security concerns as their reason to cancel we think this is bogus. We were planning in cooperation with the Victoria Police a peaceful and safe protest. The real reason the event was called off was the extent of Jewish community opposition to the event.”