I watched it, saw it live. The young girls who went scrambling for the ‘free Palestine’ stickers’. “I have to get one dad”, one of them squealed, as she dragged her father over towards a table that she believed was giving these stickers away. That was my welcome to the ‘anti-Trump demonstration’, London, 13 July 2018. She wasn’t disappointed. There were people manning several such stalls, all eager to hand these badges of identification over to whomever asked for them.
I write about this often, because the message is so important to get across. I cannot be sure what exactly drew that particular family to the anti-Trump demonstration. The girl’s background, politics and religion are unknown to me. I am sure however, that there is no reason for that girl to treat the only democracy in the Middle East as if it is a pariah state. Yet she, like many of the young people attending this demonstration are being introduced to the idea that it is ‘cool’, the ‘in-thing’ to ‘hate Israel’.
This poison is dripping into the veins of our society. What was most depressing about the anti-Trump rally was that it was so blatant, and I got to witness it all happening in real time.
The Donald Trump context
I am not here to speak in favour of, nor against Donald Trump. He is the democratically elected President of the United States of America. He is their sitting President and they are our strongest and most important ally. We are fortunate that what ties us together cannot be disrupted by a massive show of public disrespect, nor even major media outlets running an incessant anti-Trump narrative.
I do not have to like him nor his policies to understand that he is being demonised with the same fever with which Obama was Lionised. Neither image is real. Perhaps it is healthy to remember this, that not one of the media outlets that are constantly attacking Trump, had ridiculed Obama’s receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize; an award for which he had been nominated within twelve days of taking office. There is a clear imbalance and everyone has an agenda.
Everyone knew this protest was coming, even before the final date for Trump’s visit had been set. Turnout was always going to be high. When I arrived, they were still gathering, thousands of them. In the end, the march began late because of a bottleneck. With a flood of people still heading north from Oxford Circus to join the march, the demonstration was unable to head south down the same street.
A march like this is made up of several layers. Many will have come because it’s a fun day out, and ‘hating Trump’ ticks a virtue signalling box. Sending images of yourself holding up a banner that attacks the US President will gain you followers and friends.
However at the core, the groups behind the gathering were anti-American, anti-British and anti-west, not anti-Trump. Communists, hard-left Socialists, anti-Zionists, Islamists. Not a single one of the organising hands that I came across see America as an ally regardless of who is President. This is Jeremy Corbyn ‘intersectionality’ territory and it is no coincidence that people like Corbyn, Len McCluskey and Owen Jones had gathered to give speeches in the Trafalgar Square ‘end-point’.
It is also no surprise I met Ken Livingstone there (Ken is in the left image. Ed Miliband is in the image on the right):
If you still think this was about Trump and not ‘America’, listen to a couple of interviews Middle East Eye streamed live:
Anti-American imagery was everywhere and walking with the demonstrators in London, it seemed like all sense of perspective had been lost:
The Friends of Al Aqsa spring to life
A few weeks after the official announcement of the visit, the anti-Israel group ‘Friends of Al-Aqsa’ purchased a domain and launched a ‘DumpTrump‘ campaign. Eleven days before Trump’s arrival, they held a preparation event, seeking volunteers to help them with the anti-trump demonstration:
Friends of Al Aqsa (FoA) are run by Ismail Patel, a British citizen of Pakistani descent. At events I have been to, I have spoken to Ismail before. FoA are not about ‘equality’ at all, but seek Muslim control of areas they believe should not be in Jewish hands. They are about Muslim control – Jewish subordination. According to the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, FoA ‘attempts to conceal and play down its real objectives by fine-tuning its rhetoric for Western ears‘. Patel has ‘saluted’ Hamas and ‘supported’ the ‘resistance’.
According to ‘Stand for Peace‘ this is what Ismail Patel wrote about adultery:
‘In humanity, the worst crime after murder is zina (adultery), and the punishment dictated by Islam for adultery is equal to that meted out for murder. This indicates the enormity of illicit sexual conduct … Pornography, prostitution, rape…are the by-products of zina … The free mixing of men and women from the time they become sexually active to the time they are no longer sexually active is prohibited.’
The group is often linked with extremism and they were ‘instrumental’ in the establishment of the annual pro-Hezbollah march through London. On a personal note, I was evicted from their ‘Palestine expo’ event in London last year. As a Jewish person who refuses to be subordinate, I was an unwelcome visitor.
Waving the banner of extremism
I cannot know how much Friends of Al Aqsa (FoA) spent on this demonstration, but it was a substantial amount. There was no way that they were going to let an opportunity such as this go to waste. These groups are brilliant at what they do, and it is important to recognise the strength of the ‘enemy’ if we are to understand the dangers that those strengths represent to British Jews.
It is all about normalising anti-Israel feeling and to bring people to associate ‘Free Palestine’ with every other popular movement. Thousands of people who normally do not associate with anti-Israel activity were going to hold up Friends of Al Aqsa placards. Whether they understand it or not, they were being played.
As I walked from Oxford Street and all the way to Portland Place, thousands, of these placards were placed at the side of the street:
These placards were not the stock intended for the march. This was just *surplus* stock that was still not in the hands of demonstrators:
Notice how the placards lead with the ‘Anti-Palestine policies’. Stickers were given out too. I wonder if these girls know where Israel even is on a map?
Yet they wear the badge of a man who pushed an extreme Islamist line on adultery and a group that seeks Muslim domination, not equality. Do you think they know? Of course they don’t, which is exactly the point. This is brainwashing.
There were several FoA stalls there:
Spreading anti-Israel propaganda
This isn’t an accident, it is all by design. With tens of thousands of ‘sheep’ who had come to express their dismay because they believe (rightly or wrongly) that Trump is a danger to world peace, organisations like Friends of Al Aqsa have an unmissable chance to ‘normalise’ an extremist message.
At every opportunity, anti-Israel propaganda was injected into the demonstrators veins. Listen to this chant:
It is so easy to do and notice how the anti-Israel message has been pushed onto demonstrators who turned up to oppose Trump. Build the association. Simply get them to sing ‘from Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go‘. In their minds they will begin to associate ‘Israel’ with everything they oppose. These people now know the ‘wall has to go’, oblivious to the fact it went up to save Jewish lives.
The girl leading that chant, standing at the front of that section of the crowd, was wearing a ‘Free Gaza’ t-shirt:
This wasn’t the Palestine ‘block’ in the march. It was part of the strategy of the organisers in almost every block of the demonstration. The next video is another section of the demonstration. Here the person leading the chant was male. He worked the same chant with slightly different words: ‘from Palestine to Mexico, the racist walls have got to go‘:
The anti-Israel message was everywhere. On the Socialist Worker stall, there were papers, leaflets and a petition. Only one dealt with an international issue – ‘Palestine’. Of all the problems in the world, only ‘Palestine’ was important enough to make it onto the table:
As we closed in on Piccadilly Circus, we came to a halt. The police were controlling the crowds and perhaps there were too many people between us and Trafalgar Square. More chants started. It was here that I heard ‘From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free’. Another chant sung was ‘We are all Palestinians’:
I also heard a new one. ‘From London to Gaza, International Intifada’, which is a particularly worrying chant to hear. British people in the heart of London, calling for an ‘international intifada’. Do they not know that 7/7, 9/11, Westminster Bridge, Manchester, Brussels, Paris, Nice, Manchester is the ‘international intifada’ they are calling for? Of course not. More brainwashing.
Time to go
My time amongst these demonstrators was coming to an end. I had spent three hours walking with them, and for the most part it was a jovial crowd. Yet there were pockets, where groups of anti-Israel activists were gathered and of course, it was those pockets that interested me the most. I had been seen and of course recognised. People had brushed past me once or twice ‘accidentally’ and yet whilst we were on the move, I had felt secure enough to remain inside.
Once we were kettled by the police I felt cornered. I no longer had the freedom to move, nor an easy exit and some of those who have threatened me online were nearby. ‘Coincidentally’, one of them by this time was standing next to me. I’d seen enough. It was time for me to go.
This is anti-western, anti-Israel, anti-British, poison. Not the demonstration so much, but the use that extreme groups make of it. Thousands of people held up Friends of Al Aqsa placards, wore their stickers and learned to associate them with ‘freedom’ and ‘peace’ and ‘equality’. Given the choice today thousands more young British people would readily associate the Islamic FoA placard as being more representative of ‘freedom’ than the flag of the democratic State of Israel.
Given that I spend so much time researching extremism, I am often sickened by what I witness. It is never easy to stand alongside those who hate you. But there was something even more disturbing about this anti-Trump demonstration. It was that I was watching the virus be passed from carrier to victim. I was standing looking at the enemy gathering new recruits. All of them smiling and all of them now chanting, ‘from the river to the sea’, as if it were some type of peaceful message. From the perspective of a British Jew, it was spine-chilling.
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