Three anti-Israel YouTubers filmed themselves harassing members of the Jewish community in Golders Green – to whom they appear to refer in the video’s title as “radical Israelis” – over “child-killing” last Saturday.
The video, the premise of which is initially outlined by one of the presenters as them just wanting to “have a dialogue…a discussion…a friendly debate,” quickly became an excuse for the presenters to accost passing members of the Jewish community, including children.
This involved one of the presenters, Ali Dawah, confronting Jewish passers-by with a microphone and asking: “Do you agree with what’s happening [in Israel]?”
Mr Dawah is also seen following and questioning a group of Jewish men and their children who are walking away from him.
When the YouTubers saw that Jews were crossing the street in order to avoid a confrontation, another one of the presenters, known as Smile2Jannah, commented: “The thing is, if somebody is being butchered in this way, the least you should be able to do is have a conversation. Provide your view. I mean, why would you cross the road and not be willing to engage?”
His co-host, Mohammed Hijab, then instructed the cameraperson to film them crossing the road, before Smile2Jannah said: “They should understand, they should realise that people want answers. People want to know your opinion, so go on record. Give your opinions. Discuss, debate.”
When a group of Jews walked past the YouTubers, declining to engage, Smile2Jannah told them: “You should really give your opinion about what’s going on, guys.”
At one point, the police asked what the cameras were for, at which point Mr Dawah explained that they were “raising awareness.”
The YouTubers also brought with them an LED billboard, upon which they displayed images of Jewish Holocaust victims in a concentration camp. Next to the images were the words: “Did we learn nothing from the Holocaust?” The images were then proceeded by photos from the conflict between Israel and Gaza.
Standing in front of the billboard, Mr Hijab went on to say that “as Muslims”, they “have no problem with Jews, per-se,” before pressuring them to “reveal their viewpoints.”
Shouting at a Jewish man who was walking away, Mr Hijab yelled: “Do you condemn the killing of children? Do you condemn it? Do you condemn it? See, look at you. The silence is deafening.”
In an outtake from that video, uploaded to Mr Hijab’s own YouTube channel, Mr Hijab is seen acting aggressively towards another Jewish man off-camera, yelling: “You need to go back to the Torah. That’s what I tell you all. Go back to the Torah, read it from the beginning again.”
Abandoning all pretences that their video was ever solely about Israel, Mr Dawah states directly to camera: “The reason we came here today is to speak to our Jewish brothers and sisters, those who are Zionist or those who are not, and just ask how they feel…we’re using our freedom of speech to come and have a dialogue and say ‘what’s your say on the matter on what’s going on in Palestine?’”
Golders Green is a neighbourhood renowned for its large Jewish population. According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the State of Israel” is an example of antisemitism. The program was also being filmed on the Jewish Sabbath, when many observant Jews do not wish to be filmed.
When questioned as to why the YouTubers chose to visit Golders Green on Shabbat, Mr Hijab denied that they went to Golders Green “looking for Jewish people”, but instead for “pro-Israeli Zionists.”
He also claimed that they used images of victims of the Holocaust in order to “demonstrate that just as the rest of the world watched on while Jewish people were brutally incinerated at the hands of fascists, so too it looks on whilst Arab Palestinians are brutally bombed in the most densely populated area in the world.”
According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is an example of antisemitism.
The video appears to show that the police stood by without interfering.
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said: “Police are aware of a video circulating on social media of two men in Golders Green on Saturday, 22 May with a van displaying messages and images on a screen. Officers were called at approximately 19:28 and engaged with those present. No offences were identified. We have since been made aware of concerns that have been brought to our attention from the community and will liaise with the appropriate partners. Local officers had already increased patrols in the area in response to recent community concerns and will continue to provide additional reassurance in coming days.”
Recently, Campaign Against Antisemitism filed a complaint to the Directorate of Professional Standards at the Metropolitan Police after officers ignored antisemitic threats among demonstrators at a pro-Israel rally who were shouting: “We’ll find some Jews there. We want the Zionists. We want their blood!”
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer 2020 showed that three in five British Jews believe that the authorities, in general, are not doing enough to address and punish antisemitism.