The chant of “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” was recited during London’s annual walk in support of the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign on Saturday.
Volunteers from Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Demonstration and Event Monitoring Unit were present at the protest to gather evidence.
“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.
While boycotting a country is neither illegal nor racist in and of itself, the problem with BDS is that it is no mere boycott. Supporters of BDS routinely engage the Definition by:
- Setting political tests which Jews must pass, or face being treated as a pariah, especially by demanding that Jews renounce their cultural and religious ties to Israel, the physical centre of the Jewish religion, the world’s only Jewish state, and the country in which almost half of the world’s Jewish population lives;
- Attempting to isolate and shame Israeli Jews, but not Israeli non-Jews, who do not support BDS when they visit Britain or come to study or teach at British universities;
- Treating the entirety of the State of Israel as occupied land, and thereby asserting that the existence of the State of Israel is a racist endeavour;
- Working with genocidal antisemitic terrorist organisations;
- Claiming that Israeli policy is to deliberately kill babies, or harvest the vital organs of non-Jews, which revives ancient blood libels;
- Attempting to portray Israeli Jews as having created a Nazi state in the model of Nazi Germany, and of ‘using’ the Holocaust as political cover for purported Jewish crimes;
- Defending against claims of antisemitism by proposing that the allegations are a ruse used by Jewish victims, not to call out racism but to silence criticism of Israel;
- Projecting antisemitic conspiracy myths about nefarious Jewish power onto the Jewish state.
The walk was organised by the group Friends of Al Aqsa (FOA).
The founder of FOA told a cheering crowd in 2009 during a war between Israel and the antisemitic genocidal terrorist group, Hamas: “Hamas is not a terrorist organisation. The reason that they hate Hamas is because they refuse to be subjugated to be occupied by the Israeli state and we salute Hamas for standing up to Israel.”