The Facebook page of the group Bournemouth Action for Israel has the sobering account below of what happened to them when they booked a stand at the Tolpuddle Festival last weekend. It provides a very clear picture of what Israel supporters are up against in the UK and the closed minds of the leftists, with whom any attempt at reasoned argument is pointless. I am increasingly convinced that pushing the "pro-Israel, pro-Palestine, pro-peace" message does not work and nor does the "Israel is really a decent place" narrative. Both messages are timid and somewhat defeatist, with the former creating the impression that Israel supporters accept that 'we must do something to help the Palestinians' and the latter only serving to confirm the (wrong) impression that Israelis are privileged compared to Palestinians. The only relevant message that pro-Israel activists in the UK should be pushing is that the
WE'VE HAD ONE HELL OF A WEEKEND! WE BECAME 21st CENTURY MARTYRS, AT TOLPUDDLE MARTYRS FESTIVAL.
Bournemouth Action For Israel, is a grass-roots Israel Advocacy organisation, run by a group of Jews and Christian supporters of Israel. We decided to combat the rhetoric of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign and to have a stand at the Tolpuddle Festival, promoting Israel’s side of the narrative, this weekend.
By booking to be at the Tolpuddle Festival, we knew we were entering the Lions Den. This festival is organised by the Trade Unions Congress, a left-wing, mostly anti-Israel organisation, whose members have swallowed the rhetoric of the well-organised and well-funded Palestinian Solidarity Campaign for many years, while Israel ignored what was and is happening, in the diaspora.
The Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, which has had the trade unionists all to themselves for the past few years, quickly discovered our presence and that was the start of the less-than-welcome reception.
In succession, the volunteers were accused of representing a fascist, racist, oppressive, apartheid, baby killing, subjugating, land-stealing state and that we had no right to be at the festival. In forthright manner, we were informed that serious complaints would be lodged to the organisers with a view to having us ejected. A flash mob suddenly converged on us from the direction of the PSC stall, shouting abuse, throwing our leaflets to the floor and trying to destroy our stand.
Needless to say, when each organisation was invited to explain what it was there for, our leader was greeted by well orchestrated boos and jeers. Having fully anticipated just such a reaction, he calmly asked them if they would like another minute or so to vent their anger. When things quietened down, he was able to inform the hall that our organisation represents a Pro-Israel, Pro-Palestinian, Pro-peace viewpoint and if we could not have civilised dialogue here in England, what chance was there for it to happen in the Middle East.
After these initial rabid outbursts, the volunteers were encouraged to hear from other stallholders and officials that we had every right to be there and although they did not agree with what Israel was doing, we should be free to put over our point of view.
Today, we arrived very early to ensure we would be there before the PSC and as we were in the process of setting up our stand, we received a visit from the organisers. They explained to us that this was going to be the busiest day of the event and that they were short staffed on security. In view of the many virulent complaints they had received about us, and although we had every right to be there, we should leave in the interest of our own and their staff's safety.
Not wishing to place the staff nor indeed ourselves in physical danger, we had no real option but to make a tactical withdrawal. Basically, we were bullied into going.
The problem with the radical left is much worse than we anticipated. THEY REALLY REALLY HATE US.