Here’s a bit of news I’d missed. Those luvverly people at the English Defence League, a far right group with more than a few links to the BNP, held a demo on Sunday outside the Israeli embassy in London. Apparently in support of Israel.
The EDL said of the event “we sympathise with what Israel are going through, it’s the only country in the west that is tackling the issues we highlight” They go on to say…“our fore-fathers fought a Nazi regime and won to protect our god given human rights, we cannot allow such fascist ideologies try to rule our streets once again using the same racist tactics”
The EDL dare to use the language of anti-Fascism to legitimise their political agenda. Speaking as a Jewish person, the idea that they would attack minorities and say they are doing it in part to protect and honor Jewish history is obscene.
There are a couple of things worth discussing when thinking about this particular EDL demonstration.
Firstly it’s that the racist language that has been (sometimes still is) used when speaking about Jews has now become a normalised way to talk about Muslims. It’s not uncommon to hear Islam being called evil.
Rabbi Nuchum Shifren in his speech yesterday said that “Arabs are dogs”. That sounds familiar…
Secondly it’s the relationship between the far-right racism towards Muslims and the propaganda used by Israel to justify the oppression of Palestinians. This is a relationship the EDL have been quick to capitalise on.
And here’s Jennifer Lipman
To anyone who says the EDL are moderates, not racist, defenders of a way of life not obstructers of another, I’d challenge you to listen to a massive throng of angry men and women shouting “Death to Allah” and other obscenities.
Make no mistake. These people are not moderates, they are extremists. One I spoke to denied being from a violent organisation, but admitted to me that he would be willing to fight “if that’s what it takes”. Looking at the EDL yesterday, I have no doubt.
Outside the Israeli Embassy, they came to hijack a cause - support of Israel and the Jewish community - for their own ends. Yesterday their hatred was for Islam, but tomorrow, who knows.
One member of the counter-demonstration, an Israeli called Yossi Bartel, told me he was there to show that “the EDL are not speaking for Israel and the Jews”.
He’s right, and more of the Jewish community must acknowledge and advertise that point.