I didn't bother watching the Al Quds mob muster and dither about at Portland Place this year. I went straight to our muster point at the corner of Grosvenor Square the other side of the road diagonally to the US Embassy. I particuarly wanted to hear one of the speakers, Kay Wilson, and I anticipated that speeches would be starting on time and in a businesslike fashion. Which they did.
I could see that the speeches were being recorded. I'll find the links as they come up; they will be more use than my memory.
As promised a link to video of all the speakers videoed by Sussex Friends of Israel here.
The speakers included Stephen Jaffe of the Board of Deputies, Matthew Offord MP for Hendon in North London a Conservative, Andrew Dismore a member of the London Assembly, Labour, and Paul Charney of the Zionist Federation.
Their speeches were calm, passionate but measured, full of feeling, but reasonable. The police and security were thanked, many times.
Reference was made to Jeremy Corbyn's attendance at the march in 2012 when he was Chair of the Stop the War Coalition. He said some wicked evil things about Israel that day. Now he is leader of the Labour party, and could have been Prime Minister had last weeks election swung a little further.
Repudiate your wickedness; change your ways! he was told.
The terrorist Hezbullah flags were mentioned, more than once. There is no difference between the political wing of Hezbullah and the military wing. If there were, why would the flag of the 'political' wing retain the kalashnikov? It would have a ballot box. The authorities rightly regard the presence of an ISIS flag in the kit of a potential terrorist as evidence of their terrorism. Why should the Hezbullah flag be tolerated?
The BBC was criticised for their coverage of the death of an Israeli policewoman recently. Their headline said “Three Palestinians killed after deadly stabbing in Jerusalem.” They were the murderers; their slain victim was not mentioned.
The Home Secretary could have banned the march. She has power to ban any march and substitute a static rally instead. Next year they should be given a static rally. In Tehran.
The mood this year seemed to me to be more sombre than last year; the three recent terrorist attacks in England, attacks in Israel and elsewhere and the loss of life in the Grenfell Tower block fire in West London last week were uppermost in peoples minds and were mentioned several times. A minutes silence for the dead was held.
And then Kay Wilson was warmly welcomed. She has made a short visit to the city of her birth especially to speak at this rally.
She described her ordeal when she and her Christian friend were attacked by a group of Palestinian jihadists and held hostage during which period they were stabbed and slashed with machetes. Her friend died. Kay was left for dead with many wounds and lacerations and 30 broken bones from the beating. She paid tribute to the Israeli Muslim surgeon who saved her life. Because of him she knows that not all Muslims are terroists and it is wrong to say so. But neither can you ignore what it is in Islam that makes terrorists do what they do, for Islam.
She has suffered, but she does not vent her anger and frustration by stabbing Muslims, or driving cars at them. Neither do we after the attacks in London and Manchester. She spoke of the attempts to silence free speech or criticism of Islam in the UK, with reference to the cafe owner who was told to stop displaying Bible verses on a video screen in his cafe, and the shopkeeper in Sunderland who suggested that his customers should 'Stop funding Jihad' , the inference being that they could use his English owned and run business instead. She quoted Sir Winston Churchill who was talking about the Nazis then but could be talking about the Jihadis now. The quotation she used ended, "Come and do your worst; we shall do our best."
She then ended with a piece from the Bible, saying that she may now be in breach of S5 of the Public Order Act herself. She said these are the words of King David. She read the verses first in Hebrew, and in English I recognised the words of the 23rd Psalm.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
Later she was interviewed by Rebel Media who had a young team present.
This is what it looked like from outside the Embassy. I decided to take a walk towards Oxford Street and watch Al Quds meandering along. But I had a long wait. Apparently they had been held up from moving off by groups who felt that the presence of terrorist flags on the streets of a city that has suffered two terrorist attacks (and another in Manchester) was not acceptable. I'll say more about that as and when I get to hear it. I can't be in two places at once and this year I made the decision to go directly to North Audley Street.
Breitbart was there and took photographs. See immediately below.
While I waited I could hear music coming from our rally.
Evenually I saw them being escorted across Brook Street. Two workmen, noting my interest, asked me who they were and what it was about. They are an Iranian sponsored group, and they are heading for the US Embassy to proclaim death of israel, death to the Jews. "Iranian" spat the older man, a Londoner like me. "What the f*** are they doing on our streets?" Well because the Home Secretary won't ban it.
As they came round into Grosvenor Square Jewish activists with Israeli flags were dancing in front of them. The trombone player I remembered from last year was playing for them to dance. They were laughing at the lead marchers, and the young man who comperes the march and leads the chants was getting more and more wound up. He was particuarly cross with the EDL and said so.
"EDL - you are hooligans, you are thugs - you are facists - but you couldn't stop us - we ran you off, ha, ha." By this time they were 2 hours late.
And this was how they led into Grosvenor Square. As I said earlier, at the top of the longest flagpole they could find, poking above the police, leading like the antenna of some grotesque alien monster.
Start them young - hezbullah flag at age 5, hijab at age 8. Most of the many hezbullah flags were these paper ones which had been handed out. The silk ones, much in evidence in previous years, (and one was liberated as evidence) were only displayed at the front. Maybe the call to ban the flag has an effect and people did not bring their own.
They were escorted into the part of Upper Brook Street that runs along the north side of Grosvenor Square, the road was closed and their large TV screen turned on. They were not happy to be stopped there. In previous years they have been allowed right outside the US Embassy. This year (a new administration? ) things were different, and they were not getting it all their own way. The Compere was geting very agitated. He shrieked at the police.
Why are you filming us? Why are all your cameras trained on us? Why are you not filming the filthy Zionists behind us? But he had to simmer down and begin the speeche, starting with a recitation from the Koran.
The first speaker was Mick Napier of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign. A rabble-rousing speech in the style of George Galloway and Rab C Nesbit.
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi of Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods was never going to set the Thames alight. Not every speaker was on the advance list, and not every speaker on the list turned up.
At 6 pm, this being the time agreed with the police, after the singing of the British and Israeli national anthems most of the Stand Against Hate rally dispersed
Mr Charisma was getting a bit frustrated. Our next speaker is Brother Xxx Is Brother Xxx here? Oh well, we'll have the next speaker and he can come later. Is Brother Zzzz here? No, oh never mind.
He kept looking behind him at the Stand Against Hate rally, refering to them as 'that rabble'.
Free, Free, Free Palestine. From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free.
And one day we will sweep that rabble behind us into the sea.
When he noticed people moving off he said, "They wanted terrorists off the streets, now they have their wish, THEY have gone...."
He told the march, there is no need to have Zionists in your mosque. If your Maulanas want some interfaith meeting there are Jews (like Neturei Karta) who are not Zionists. If they invite others, get rid of them - it's time for us to take control of the mosques.
Then later, where are the Maulanas? Ask them when you get home? If they give you a mickey mouse answer, get rid of them - It;s time we took control of the mosques. Except he was reprimanded by this next speaker, left, a Maulana, who said a good Maulana may have a very good reason not to attend today.
He criticised the police. He criticised the BBC for their coverage of the Six Day war in 1967. They portrayed Israel as some gallant little country fighting for their existence against the enemy that surrounded them.
The Jewish Chronicle reports here that the Grenfell Tower fire was also blamed on Zionists.
Rabbi Cohen of Neturei Karta spoke. He may have been more impressive in his youth, or head on to the microphone. The standard of speaking, content, delivery was much inferior to the Stand Against hate rally.
This is Sister Sarah Russell. She's an artist. A photographer to be exact. It seems that painting of drawing the human form may be forbidden in Islam, but photographing it is acceptable. She wished everybody peace and love, Inshallah, and plugged an exhibition in which she has a part.
I was waiting for Baroness Jenny Tonge, former Liberal Democrat MP, who has sat as an independent in the House of Lords since being expelled from the Lib Dems for anti-semitism. She is, or was, a friend of Jeremy Corbyn, and has said that she likes his level of left-wing politics so much that she had contemplated joining the Labour party. But when the final speaker, who was actually in attendance was called, it was this chap whose name I didn't catch.
Zionism is dying, he said. It's in its last days as the world wakes up to its wrongfulness.
I thought, it's the other way round. People are waking up to the flaws in Islam.
Mr Charisma thanked everybody for coming, and apologised for the presence of Jews. "This used to be a good day out until about two years ago when that lot starting turning up."
Another recitation started, flags were gathered up by stewards for next year, children were allowed to keep theirs to wave on the way home.
I went to meet friends for refreshments. We definitely have them rattled.
Photographs E Weatherwax London June 2017
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