A Canadian International Women’s Day event that drew attention for canceling its keynote speaker over her past Israeli military service has itself now been canceled.

“Circumstances beyond our control” led to the cancelation of the event in Peterborough, Ontario, that had been planned by INSPIRE, a women’s empowerment organization, the group told kawarthaNOW, a local online publication, this week.

The cancelation came just days after a Jewish Telegraphic Agency report that INSPIRE had rescinded its speaking invitation to Leah Goldstein, a Jewish motivational speaker and the first woman to win a grueling 3,000- mile bicycle race across the United States. It cited as the reason “a small but growing and extremely vocal group” that took issue with Goldstein’s IDF service more than 30 years ago.

This incident is one of a growing number of situations where athletes, musicians and other public figures have been affected by anti-Israel protests and sentiments regarding the Israel-Hamas war. And the story of what happened in Peterborough quickly spread, including to the Daily Mail tabloid, igniting criticism of INSPIRE from around the world.

Amid the outcry, Goldstein posted a copy of the letter she penned to INSPIRE, expressing her feelings over what she described as “a deeply upsetting turn of events.”

“Now that global media has begun publishing various articles and news posts, I feel it’s imperative that I too provide a response to my followers… the same response that I conveyed to the event organizers,” Goldstein wrote on her website.

“I don’t believe you hired me because I was a soldier and a cop. While these jobs are part of my story (and I’m very grateful to have had these experiences), they do not define me as a human being,” she wrote in the letter. “As a Jewish woman, I would never be offended if a Palestinian woman were to speak about her obstacles and life journey. I thought that’s what women were supposed to do for each other — listen and support!”

She added, “Instead, it seems you have chosen to give in to threats and hate — and this is the saddest part. You removed me and made a statement to your audience, without even giving me a chance to make my own.”

Heather Doughty, INSPIRE’s founder and volunteer leader, previously told JTA that she had been surprised by the pushback against Goldstein’s inclusion and that the entire experience had been “so traumatic for me.” She did not respond to a request for comment about the cancelation of her group’s event.

Goldstein was flooded with messages, most expressing solidarity. Many stated that they contacted INSPIRE to express outrage over its treatment of the Canadian-Israeli cyclist and motivational speaker. Some of the anger was mistakenly directed to organizers of other International Women’s Day events scheduled in the area and a law firm that sponsored the INSPIRE event last year.

“We are so grateful for the support of so many,” she tweeted Thursday, adding, “But we would ask those wishing to share a complaint to be certain they are connecting with the right organization.”

Murray Miskin told JTA that his firm, Miskin Law, didn’t renew its sponsorship this year because it was involved in other projects. Miskin learned his firm had been listed as a sponsor when he and his predominantly Jewish colleagues were flooded with emails accusing the office of antisemitism and questioning its association with the event.

“In this situation, we had an event where the organizers were overwhelmed by the reaction from the antisemitic and anti-Israel people, and they overreacted to that,” Miskin told JTA. “Then, they were overwhelmed by the pro-Israel, pro-Jewish voices that came after and criticized the decisions they made. They basically gave up and left kind of a mess here.”

Miskin said he hoped that INSPIRE would learn from the experience in planning for next year’s International Women’s Day, marked annually on March 8.

“Peterborough is a very accepting community, and more people in our community will get involved to help make things better,” he said.

Dean Pappas is one of the community members already getting involved. Pappas, who previously served on the Peterborough city council, asked the city’s diversity, equity, and inclusion counselor to investigate INSPIRE. He said he was compelled to intervene, calling the situation, at the very least, discrimination and, at the worst, antisemitic. Pappas, who is Greek, also noted that, like in Israel, military service is mandatory in Greece and that he reached out to Goldstein and the Jewish community to offer support.

Miskin added that tremendous sympathy was expressed within the community, “mostly people thinking this was a very bad decision and wanting to help bring Leah to Peterborough to speak in the future.”

Miskin recently connected with Goldstein; the two appeared this week on Canadian podcast to talk about their reaction to the chain of events and discussed plans to bring the cyclist to Peterborough for a summer speaking engagement.

Goldstein told JTA that since her story became public, she hasn’t been sleeping — not because she’s upset over the incident but because she feels compelled to respond to the messages from supporters.

“I’ve probably slept as much as I did when racing Race Across America. This is great training for sleep deprivation,” she said. “Like I have to respond to these nice people. It’s just so touching. I’m just so happy and so grateful. It’s restored my faith in humanity that good always wins.”