Nearly 1,000 people have marched at the “Al Quds Day” parade in central London today. Volunteers from Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Demonstration and Event Monitoring Unit went into the thick of the protest to gather evidence.
The march saw open antisemitism from attendees, who marched under banners declaring that it is a “crime” or “racism” to support Zionism, the movement to grant Jews the same right to self-determination as all peoples are granted under Article 1 of the United Nations Charter. Some compared Zionism to Nazism.
Mick Napier the Secretary of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPCC) told protesters that Peter Willsman should not have been suspended for saying that the Israeli embassy was behind allegations of antisemitism in the Labour Party. He declared that not only was the Israeli embassy behind “phoney” antisemitism “smears”, but that it also held workshops around the UK where “Zios” (an antisemitic slur word) plotted to orchestrate the “smears”. In 2017, Mr Napier was found guilty of aggravated trespass at a protest outside a cosmetics store in Glasgow during the 2014 Gaza war. The SPCC has previously been exposed over many of its supporters’ extremely antisemitic views.
The entire march was led by a banner calling for “Victory to the resistance”. “The resistance” is the name often used to refer to various terrorist organisations including Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hizballah, all of which seek the murder of every Jew worldwide.
Protesters frequently chanted the rhyme: “From the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea, Palestine will be free”, which only makes sense as a call for the destruction of the Jewish state and its replacement with a Palestinian state, and is thus an attempt to uniquely deny Jews the right to self-determination.
The “Al Quds Day” marchers did not have the streets to themselves, however. A group of anti-terrorism activists waving Israeli flags confronted the marchers and engulfed them in a cloud of blue and white smoke.
While in previous years the march has been a pro-Hizballah parade, with marchers festooned in Hizballah flags, no support for Hizballah was visible this year because in February this year Hizballah was completely proscribed by the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, with the support of the Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt. This followed a gruelling effort over several years by Campaign Against Antisemitism and our allies.
Until then, the British Government had distinguished between Hizballah’s “military wing” and “political wing”, even though Hizballah mocked the Government and said that no such distinction exists. The loophole enabled brazen shows of support for Hizballah, including at previous “Al Quds Day” parades where pro-Hizballah supporters marched through central London waving Hizballah flags and placards with “We Are All Hizballah.” The law has also now been changed to allow police officers to seize flags or clothing bearing the insignia of terrorist organisations, and also arrest anybody who publishes photographs of them.
Prior to today’s parade, Campaign Against Antisemitism and our allies met with the Metropolitan Police Service who vowed to “intervene to enforce the law” if Hizballah flags were flown.
The firm approach of the Metropolitan Police Service ensured that no shows of support for Hizballah were seen this year, and Campaign Against Antisemitism wishes to thank the police for upholding the law and defending the Jewish community.
We understand that at least one person from the “Al Quds Day” parade has been arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer. We have received reports that another person was arrested for allegedly assaulting an anti-terrorism activist.
Volunteers from Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Demonstrations and Event Monitoring Unit gathered extensive evidence, which our Regulatory Enforcement Unit is considering, as the self-anointed Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), which runs the event, is a charity. A report released this week by the Henry Jackson Society, found that the IHRC is permeated by “extreme antisemitism”.