Sarah Irving

I do things with words, mainly English and Arabic

Avigdor Lieberman's supporters in London

Having been on the receiving end of the opinions some of Israel’s supporters in the UK, not a lot surprises me about the more select members of this group. This blog post is an illustration of that, but it’s particularly interesting because the blogger is a Zionist himself. He opposes and critiques the PSC and other anti-Zionist campaigners and protesters, but he is also willing to expose some of the racism and extremism that also exists amongst British apologists for the State of Israel:

What shocked me was the behaviour of many in the Pro-Israel pen. You had chants fairly regularly proclaiming that “There is no such thing as Palestine”, you could hear clearly a protester shouting at a young Pakistani man filming the protest “go home to Pakistan you Paki, this is not your country” you had more chants calling the PSC “Islamist Fascists” and the people with megaphones were evoking anti-fascist language. Claiming that we (the Jews) should “Drive these fascists out of Hendon”. The language was emotive, aggressive and embarrassing for me as a Jew and as a Zionist…
I’m going to ‘out’ my favourite person in the BIC. The person shouting racist abuse at the young Pakistani man was standing right next to Jonathan Hoffman. Jonathan Hoffman is the leading light of this coalition of nutters. He is also the Co-Vice Chair of the Zionist Federation. At no point did Jonathan Hoffman intervene or try to tone down the protester standing next to him. He stood by, waving his Israeli flag, shouting other stuff, which although not racist, I do not find particularly inspiring. It is fair to say that he is one of the leaders of the UK Zionist right, one of the figureheads of the staunch Zionist Israel can do no wrong crowd, but he showed a complete lack of leadership by not intervening. I am not sure what is worse, someone shouting such abuse or no one intervening.
At the end I saw the worst part. The PSC group were going to leave, and march to Hendon Central. The Pro-Israel group followed them, kettled them and forced the police to give them an escort to the station. This is not how Jews should behave, we do not behave like thugs.
The only real positive is that in Hendon, one of the most Jewish and Zionist areas in the country, people did not come out in mass numbers to support the BIC. The BIC (and Avigdor Lieberman) are out of step with British Jewry, out of step with British Zionists and the poor showing yesterday showed that cannot claim to be the ‘Fastest growing Pro-Israel movement in the UK’.

One comment on “Avigdor Lieberman's supporters in London

  1. Dr. Denis MacEoin
    December 20, 2012

    I don’t disagree with many of your comments. But one or two could usefully be understood in a better light. For example, it’s not remotely racist to say ‘here is no such thing as Palestine’. It’s simply a statement of fact. The modern idea of ‘Palestine’ is an invention dating back to 1967 or so. Arabs of the region all considered themselves to be Syrians (any number of sources for that). Then the British dreamed up a name for their mandate territory: Palestine was just a mandate. When it came to be divided, the Arabs were as free as birds to settle their patch and call it whatever they liked (at that time, probably Syria or Suriya al-Janubi). The Palestine concept has not serious history, though it can be created once the self-defined Palestinians wake up, sit down to talk, and make a deal.

    Again, ‘you had more chants calling the PSC “Islamist Fascists”’. But the PSC is largely made up of Islamists and fascists. If you go to most of their local websites, you’ll find yourself on a neo-fascist, Holocaust-denying page. They may be covered up by now, but believe me I’ve seen them and Sam Westrop has made a pretty list of them. They are also vicious anti-Semites (which goes together, really). Calling to throw fascists out of Hendon should awaken echoes of struggles between the left (ironically) and the far right in the 1930s. We did throw them out and we beat the worst of them in a war. Now, the fascists are taking control again under the guise of being devoted members of the socialist left. And the Islamists stoke the fires.

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