A man accused of anti-semitism has been forced to cancel a speech at a church over fears it could whip up religious hatred.

Event organiser Dr Francis Clark-Lowes cancelled his booking at the Brighthelm Centre, in North Road, Brighton, for the talk by Gilad Atzmon.

Dr Clark-Lowes said the decision was in reaction to a campaign to discredit the speaker by opponents who targeted the venue with posters.

Mr Atzmon attracted criticism when it was claims his previous speeches advocated the persecution of the Jewish community.

Dr Clark-Lowes, who is chairman of the Brighton branch for Palestinian Solidarity, said: "It is clear in my own mind that Gilad has important things to say and is not a racist. But I know others took a different view.

"I told the Brighthelm Centre there could be opposition to this event for this reason.

"Opponents then stuck up posters outside the centre without permission which disturbed the manager.

"I couldn't reassure him that there wouldn't be further similar actions and I felt it wasn't fair to put the centre in this position."

Centre manager Alan Hodge added: "We felt cancelling the event was the right thing to do for all concerned."

The event, to be held tomorrow at 7.30pm, has since been moved to Dr Clark-Lowes' home address at 9 Trafalgar Terrace, Brighton.

The move has been welcomed by campaign groups.

Tony Greenstein, of the Brighton and Hove Unemployed Workers Centre, said Atzmon would have faced a major protest outside the building had he tried to enter.

Mr Greenstein said: "Despite his abhorrent views, we did not call for the meeting to be cancelled.

"We wanted him to face as large a picket as possible in order that he should understand the depth of opposition.

"Nonetheless we welcome the fact that Brighthelm has cancelled this meeting as church premises are probably the least appropriate venue for a meeting of this kind."

Mr Atzmon was born in Israel as a secular Jew and has in the past expressed the view that there is no such thing as anti-semitism, instead claiming that he has an "ideological disagreement with Zionism".

The 45-year-old is a talented jazz musician and his speech, which is touring the country, looks at the ideological influences of his music.

Mr Atzmon said: "I think it is outrageous the way I've been treated in all this. There's not a single racist remark in any of my writings.

"All I argue is that if Israel is a Jewish state we're entitled to ask what Judaism stands for.

"There are crimes committed on a daily basis against Palestinians. These issues must be elaborated.

"This is an issue of free speech. If we give up this right then there is really very little we can contribute to humanity."