Yesterday, on the 4th November 2017, an ‘anti-Balfour’ event took place in London. Intensively plugged for months by every anti-Israel group across the country, this was going to be a demonstration that filled the streets with anti-Israel protestors. In the end, it wasn’t anything of the sort.
The PSC Twitter feed absurdly suggested 15,000 marched, yet only 2300-2600 walked passed Hanover Square. There may have been a few hundred waiting at Westminster for the speeches, but my head-count for the march itself is supported by full video evidence. The organisers and police had expected about 10,000, so whichever way the organisers wish to spin this, the turn-out was more than disappointing for them. In the end, they thinned the demonstration into groups like a carnival procession, placing a minute or two between them, to make it look far bigger than it was.
Worse still for the organisers, as the procession approached Harewood Place, a group of pro-Israeli counter-demonstrators entered Oxford Street to take up their place at the front of the march. An effective example of guerilla activism that thoroughly annoyed the anti-Israel crowd. From that point on, the first thing anyone saw of the demonstration, was the waving Israeli flags.
This from a Journalist at Middle East Eye:
At least three of the speakers at the static event at the end of the march, negatively referenced the actions of the pro-Israeli crowd, a good indicator of the ‘annoyance’ the activity created. In total, there were about 70-80 pro-Israeli counter-demonstrators present.
There is a knowledge within this small group of Zionists, that is not possessed by most of British society, and certainly not by most mainstream British Jewish organisations. These people see and face down real anti-Jewish hatred on our streets. They see the extremism in the eyes of the opposition, and they know this is a danger that cannot be ignored. On occasions they communicate with anti-Israel activists present, and become aware of the level of ignorance fueling the hate in some of the opposition. And they witness the absurd marriage between the radical left and Islamist positions in horror. The more they see of it, the more they understand it has to be challenged.
As the two groups met for the first time, there were minor incidents. One Israeli flag was taken, thrown to the ground and trodden on – an event partially caught by my camera. Another minor scuffle broke out between one pro-Israeli and Tapash Abu Shaim, a member of the board of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (and antisemitic conspiracy theorist).
Absurd political alliances
So many faces now are known to me. And the more you identify the people involved, the more absurd the political alliances become. Take Hadi Nasrallah, who just as he did in the February 6th demonstration outside Downing Street, took a position directly confronting those holding the Israeli flag:
This is a recent post of his:
Which someone translated for me like this:
‘No, they don’t need your prayer, you the reapers of Hezbollah commandos’ glory from behind your screens. You are the ones who need their struggle so as to dance on their victory’ s tunes from inside your wholes. But we need their sacrifice so as not to skip mentioning Allah’ s name in a prayer. Hey, martyrs! Commandos of Al arz in our land. Glory is only for you even if you don’t know. – Arsal is getting free‘
And just if there is still any confusion, here he is on a Syrian tank:
This is the type of religious / political ideology that British Unions and ‘peace groups’ are busy giving a voice to.
As the counter-demonstration led the march through Hanover Square, I stayed back to watch the crowd as it passed. Many of the demonstrators carried the banners of their affiliated groups. About a hundred regional banners or so, each with two or three people standing alongside. The PSC branches were out in force, alongside various other radical left wing activist anti-Israel groups. Some from the same area, differentiated through the order that they use the words ‘friends’ ‘solidarity’ or ‘Palestine’ in their title.
Brian: Excuse me. Are you the Judean People’s Front?
Reg: F**k off! ‘Judean People’s Front’. We’re the People’s Front of Judea!
To have a closer look at the statistical antisemitic make-up of the participants is possible, but probably not worth the time it would take. As the groups walk past, I recognise several hundred of the participants involved. Most, but not exclusively, from my research into antisemitism inside PSC and SPSC activism. They have come from Scotland, the North East, the North West, the Midlands, the South and of course, every corner of London. Everything is well represented – Holocaust deniers, Rothschild Conspiracy adherents, 9/11 truthers, ISIS as Israel, and raw ‘Jew as devil’ hatred. All walking alongside Islamists and banners from groups that supposedly adhere to anti-racist causes. Absurd.
There is little point in my simply posting hundreds of antisemitic shares by those present at the demonstration. Also the standard antisemitic concentration levels of 40%+ are almost certainly (slightly) diluted at an event like this. It has to be recognised that some good people do turn up at these demonstrations. Not everyone with a Palestinian flag is a bad guy. There are those led by ignorant belief, a reliance on the political views of tainted friends, or most importantly because today Palestine is seen as the ’cause of fashion’. I had conversations with several. If you are not talking to a blind ideological wall, then you are discussing a conflict with someone who knows nothing about it.
Take a look at Hadi Nasrallah’s posts above. On the same day as this march took place, the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri resigned because he is ‘living in fear for his life’. He has accused Iran of sowing ‘fear and destruction’ in several countries, including Lebanon. Many Middle East commentators have recognised, that Iran, with the cover of the chaos in Syria, is making a strategic play for regional control, and an attempt to gain access to the Mediterranean, which also includes using it’s proxy Hezbollah. Yet these people march against Israel!
The obsession of the unions
At the recent Labour Party conference, in discussions I had with both ‘free Syria’ and ‘free Iran’ groups, it became obvious that Labour party activism is being suffocated by the Palestinian cause. Groups supporting real democratic change in the Middle East are not having their voice heard. If you stand with the Palestinians, you will find yourself in opposition (or left to ignore) most of the real humanitarian causes in the region. Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah become ‘friends’.
So for a moment, we should forget the several hundred hard-core antisemites that walked the streets of London. We need to ask why it is that those people are being supported by British unions, including Unite the Union, UNISON, NUT, GMB, ASLEF, RMT, FBU, UCU & CWU.
‘Palestinianism’ is a cause of war (not to be confused with seeking to better the lives of Palestinians or working for real peace between the different sides of the conflict). Far too many people are stifling the conversation by taking genuine humanitarian concern, and aligning it with the cause of ‘Palestinianism’. As the Middle East burns – on the very day another fragile nation shows further signs of trouble, British unions support a march against Israel. Those unions who are meant to represent British workers, are overtly strengthening racism, antisemitism, rejectionisim and undemocratic forces within a conflict zone. That, more than a few antisemites on the streets of London, is the truly worrying aspect of the march.
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