Today, like so many days in London over the last 10 years, a group of antisemites who go under the laughable guise of 'Palestine supporters' planned to:
- March through the streets of London shouting despicable lies against Israel without being challenged
- Hand out leaflets spewing more lies, hatred and antisemitic blood libels to unwitting Londoners trying to enjoy a day out in the sunshine; and finally
- Lay siege to a modest Jewish Israeli-owned shop with the explicit intention of forcing it out of business, without a murmur of protest against them.
It all started when the antisemites gathered in Soho Square and were about to serenade the visitors there trying to have a peaceful lunch with their classic tune "From the river to the sea Palestine will be free". They were greeted first by Ishmael Sali, who they assumed would be joining their hatefest.
The look on their faces was quite something to see when Ishmael pulled out a large Israeli flag (see more pictures of Ishmael below), followed by others doing the same. Within seconds the terrorist supporting goons were surrounded by more people with Israel flags (more people in fact than the antisemites) and for the 20 minutes they stayed there singing the Israel supporters drowned out their noise with their own, including with some impressive shofar blowing.
When the antisemites started their march toward Covent Garden they were surrounded and followed all the way. For the 2 hours they were outside Sabon Israel supporters made sure to counter their lies. In particular they made sure the lies in these leaflets they were handing out did not go unchallenged:
Even when their demo outside Sabon ended (to a rousing rendition of Hatikvah) the antisemites were followed all the way back. For once they did not have the streets of London to their own and they did not like it one bit.
Although still relatively small in numbers today's direct action by Israel supporters was a thousand times more effective than anything done in the last 10 years by the entire set of organisations run by Britain's 'official Jews' combined (UPDATE: Note I am referring to those 'official' demos and not other direct action events like today of which there have been quite a few). In fact I have no doubt that if the Board of Deputies and CST were aware of what was going to happen they would either have tried to stop it or would have made sure the Israel supporters were penned in as far away from the action as possible (which they manage to do every time) to maintain the image of the 'trembling Jew' **(UPDATE: see below comments about this from the President of the BoD).
Every time the 'Palestine Solidarity Committee' plans one of these stunts I can't help thinking of this. And it's about time they are shown up for the bigots they are.
UPDATE: Look at the antisemitic abuse after a video of the counter demo was posted.
PS I like these photos from today (courtesy Sharon Zacks):
and this one courtesy of Israel Advocacy Movement which perfectly sums up the day:
And here is what Israel Advocacy Movement says about today:
***TODAY WE SCORED A DECISIVE VICTORY***
London Palestine Action tried to close down an Israeli cosmetics shop in London called Sabon, their reason? Because the Sabon factory is in Kiryat Gat, a city well within the 1949 Armistice Lines, this was not a protest against "settlements", disgracefully this was a protest against the very existence of Israel.
London Palestine Action promoted this event for over a month, yet without advertising we were able to mobilise far more activists than they had. For one of the first times in years, our chants of "1, 2, 3, 4 stop the boycott, stop the war, 5, 6, 7, 8 stop the boycott, stop the hate", drowned out their screams of "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free"... a call for the destruction of Israel.
With our activists and supporters robed in Israeli flags we were successful in obscuring their message of hate.
The cherry on the cake, was when Chloe organised our supporters to end the day with a shopping spree in Sabon... the perfect response to a boycott.
For those that couldn't make it today, please take 5 minutes to head over to https://www.sabonuk.co.uk/en/ and support a great business that has found itself the focus of a vile and bigoted hate campaign.
Thank you so much each and everyone who came and continues to support Israel with us.
*UPDATE: Gemma Sheridan was working solidly on this - and the counter-demos that took place the day before - for six weeks and deserves special credit.
**UPDATE: Following my posting of this article the President of the Board of Deputies (Jonathan Arkush) wrote this response (which he is happy for me to share here):
I was very pleased indeed to read about the counter-demonstration. You rather did the Board a disservice with your wide-of-the-mark comment. The Board has always supported demonstrating and indeed has organised many of the leading ones. The very last thing we would do is to have restricted this type of event ! Provided, obviously, any demonstration is conducted within the law I can assure you it will have the Board’s support.
I think you are aware that under my presidency the Board has spoken up and acted loudly and clearly for British Jews and Israel and I assure you will continue to do so without fear or favour.
What we need to do is to act with unity. Let us support each other strongly and steer away from making derogatory comments – we can save those for the real opposition.
JonathanUPDATE: a commentator expressed concern at the (well-meaning) banner saying "Israel is not an apartheid state etc") held up by one of the pro-Israel demonstrators, feeling it was far too defensive. I have written about this here.