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Foul mouths of Bibi fans

Police hold back pro-Palestinian protesters outside Downing Street, September 9th, 2015. Photo by Johnny Armstead, Demotix

A tale of two demonstrations – but only one anti-racist movement

By Ben White, MEMO
September 11, 2015

Palestine solidarity campaigners at 10 Downing street on WednesdayPalestine solidarity campaigners at 10 Downing street on WednesdayOn Wednesday, Palestine solidarity campaigners held a demonstration outside 10 Downing Street to protest the official visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The protesters denounced Bibi as a war criminal, following last year’s Israeli attack on Gaza, which killed some 2,200 Palestinians, including more than 500 children.

Screenshot of pro-Israel supporters from MEE video (see below). They claim just one principle – peace – though their hero has a funny way of going about it.

Israel’s premier is also an enthusiastic support of the colonisation of the Occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, and sees non-Jewish citizens – or even refugees – as a ‘threat’ to the state.

Hundreds attended the demonstration, which was organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC). Speakers included MPs and Richard Kuper of Jews for Justice for Palestinians.

During the protest, some individuals were filmed using deplorable, pro-genocide and antisemitic rhetoric. The next day, PSC issued a clear condemnation of antisemitism, stating that “there is no place for racism in the Palestine solidarity movement.” The statement went on:

The actions of these racists, who are neither PSC members nor supporters, detracts from solidarity with Palestine and enables Israel to escape the global scrutiny it deserves. PSC has expelled members in the past who have violated our core anti-racist principles and will do so again if necessary.

PSC’s swift response should come as no surprise; groups and activists involved in the mainstream Palestine solidarity movement have a track record of calling out racism.

Meanwhile, a video has emerged of a pro-Israel protester, part of a smaller counter-demonstration backed by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Jewish Leadership Council, and others, responding to the death of more than 500 Palestinian children in Gaza with the verdict: “Jolly good.”

Video directed by William Pine and Charles B. Anthony

These remarks have, so far, gone uncriticised by the organisers of the pro-Israel protest. Indeed, they would be hard pressed to do so, given their support for Israel’s unprecedentedly brutal assault on Gaza that claimed the lives of so many Palestinian men, women, and children.

 Board of Deputies president Jonathan Arkush, [L, had  nothing to say – for once – about the racism of some pro-  Israel supporters] meanwhile, described the Palestine  solidarity protest as a “howling mob, some of them with  their faces covered in keffiyot, in true terrorist style.”  Arkush also slammed even the mild criticism of the Israeli  government by liberal Zionist group Yachad.

Solidarity with Palestine is based on an opposition to the  inherent racism of settler-colonialism. Israel’s supporters,  by contrast, are not only apologists for apartheid, but even  compromise the fight against antisemitism in their efforts to smear those who support the Palestinians’ struggle.


The pro-Israel demonstration was organised by the Jewish Leadership Council of which Jonathan Arkush is a council member and of which the Board of Deputies is a constituent member. The JLC chairman is Mick Davis, knighted in the Queen’s birthday honours list, generous donor to the Tory party and chum of David Cameron.

See also
Anti-Netanyahu rally attracts true critics – and cohort of antisemites

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