A smaller crowd than in the past attended this year’s “Al Quds Day” parade in central London on Sunday. Volunteers from Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Demonstration and Event Monitoring Unit were present at the protest to gather evidence.
Although Hizballah flags were not being flown at the Iranian-backed event this year – after the genocidal terrorist organisation was banned in its entirety by the British Government in 2019 following action by Campaign Against Antisemitism and our allies – there were other causes for concern.
Chants included “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” The chant of “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” only makes sense as a call for the destruction of the world’s only Jewish state — and its replacement with a State of Palestine — and is thus an attempt to deny Jews, uniquely, the right to self-determination, which is a breach of the International Definition of Antisemitism.
Another chant – “Judaism, yes, Zionism no, the State of Israel must go!” – made this objective plain.
Numerous signs declared that “Zionism is racism”, and an Israeli flag was burned by members of the fringe and controversial Neturei Karta group.
One participant also wore a shirt comparing Israel to Nazism, also in breach of the International Definition of Antisemitism.
Among the speakers was Mick Napier, the Secretary of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPCC) who regularly addresses the demonstration. 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 “Al Quds Day” rallies are an Iranian-backed global event, but they have faced controversy over expressions of antisemitism and calls for the destruction of the Jewish state. Last year, for example, Berlin banned the parade from taking place, while footage of the protests this year in numerous German cities appeared to show participants shouting phrases like “Scheiße Jude!” (“S**tty Jew!”), “Drecksjude” (“dirty Jew”), and “Strike, oh Qassam, don’t let the Zionists sleep.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer 2020 showed that over eight in ten British Jews consider the threat from Islamists to be very serious.