After three major terror attacks in the UK in within four months, British Prime Minister Theresa May announced that “Enough is enough” when it comes to terrorism, and pledged to not “allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed.” Yet less than a month after May’s fiery speech, despite pleas from Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, a UK charity dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism, a 3,000-people strong petition to the Mayor of London, and concerns raised by CST, a charity which protects UK Jews from anti-Semitism, the government allowed the Al-Quds Day March to go ahead.
Al-Quds Day is an Iranian inspired day of protest against Israel. Events are held in Iran, Yemen, Iraq and Syria but also in the west in places such as New York, Berlin and London. Every year, the events face accusations of tolerating anti-Semitic chanting, placards and support for terrorism, and this year was no different.
Hezbollah flags draped the backs of the marchers, as organizers handed them out, and placards with the words ‘We are Hezbollah’ were risen high in the air. Various anti-Semitic tropes and statements were shouted over the loud-speaker, including blaming Zionists for the fire in Grenfell Tower and ISIS. The event exemplified how anti-Zionism regularly morphs into anti-Semitism, with one event organizer shouting over the loud-speaker, “We are fed up of the Zionists, we are fed up of your rabbis, we are fed up of your synagogues.” This is racial hatred.
In 2017, we should not allow incitement to racial hatred, illegal under British law, to go unpunished. Hundreds of police did nothing as Al-Quds Day marchers deliberately provoked hatred of a racial group, distributed racist material to the public, made inflammatory public speeches and incited inflammatory rumors about an ethnic group. All the above are illegal under British law and are offenses which justify arrest. Why, when racial hatred occurs against Jews, do police do so little?
Yet it wasn’t just racial hatred laws which were broken by parade goers. By publicly displaying the flag of Hezbollah, a recognized terrorist organization in the UK, Section 13 of the UK’s Terrorism Act was breached, as the law states ‘A person in a public place commits an offence if he wears an item of clothing, or wears, carries or displays an article, in such a way or in such circumstances as to arouse reasonable suspicion that he is a member or supporter of a proscribed organisation’. Why, when a terrorist organization seeks the genocide of the Jewish people, do the authorities do so little to act and enforce the law? The justification seemingly used by the police for not making arrests, is that Hezbollah’s ‘political wing’, is not proscribed as a terror organization by the UK, creating somewhat of a loophole.
Theresa May and the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan have both spoken passionately about their anger on the state of terrorism in the UK. Yet actions speak louder than words, and their failure to intervene and get the Al-Quds Day march in London banned is a punch in the face to the fight against terrorism, extremism and anti-Semitism.
As David Cameron, then UK Prime Minister said, “If you say ‘Violence in London isn’t justified, but suicide bombs in Israel are a different matter,’ you too are part of the problem.” He was right, and if Theresa May was genuine in her words that “Enough is enough” when it comes to terrorism, then the Al-Quds Day March in 2018 must not be allowed to go ahead.
Contributed by Daniel Kosky, CAMERA Intern