“Judaism Yes, Zionism No”: CAA’s BBC demo yesterday

Nobody who bans the Israel flag should be regarded as a ‘Zionist’. No ifs, no buts. Neither can they have full credibility in fighting antisemitism.

I’ve heard this chant countless times at anti-Israel demonstrations in London, most often at the vile annual antisemitic Al Quds Day march. But it’s not a sentiment I expected to experience at the Campaign Against Antisemitism’s demo last night at the BBC in London, in protest against the BBC’s fabricated lie to the effect that the Asian-heritage yobs who attacked a bus were provoked by an anti-Muslim slur from one of the passengers.

At the demonstration there were at least four Israel flags, including mine. Entirely appropriate because:

  • Most of the 40 young people on the bus in Oxford Street on the second night of Chanuka were Hebrew speakers from Israeli families in London. The bus trip was organised by the Chabad Israeli Centre in Temple Fortune. The Rabbi on the bus (Rabbi Glitsenstein, to whom I spoke today) spoke in Hebrew and much of the talk you can hear on the audio is unmistakably Hebrew (“Yalla!”).
  • The bad blood between the BBC and the UK Jewish Community does not stem from eg Holocaust Denial or Rothschild Conspiracy theories on Radio 4. Nor has Panorama made programmes opposing ritual circumcision or the process of koshering meat. It stems from the BBC’s anti-Israel bias (possibly acknowledged in the Balen Report, kept under lock and key). Example: Mohammed Hijab, who appears in a recent BBC ‘documentary’ about antisemitism, thinks pro-Israel Jews should ‘learn from the Holocaust”. There are many examples in this blog, eg this and this and this. And see the excellent BBC Watch.
  • In all likelihood the BBC’s fabrication was inserted by an anti-Israel editor sympathetic to Muslim antisemitism (the journalist whose by-line appears, Harry Farley, has denied that he inserted it). The lie was no doubt inserted to try to “balance” the appalling antisemitism of the Asian-heritage yobs. (Note that at the BBC, BBC Arabic & BBC Arabic News share a floor with BBC London News & BBC Radio London).

But the stewards harangued us to hide our flags (despite at least one of them even having an Israeli passport).

And when it came to the ‘official’ photo of the protesters – with the BBC building in the background – Gideon Falter (CAA CEO) was determined to airbrush the Israel flags out!  Can you clear out for a minute?’ he called out, to the people with Israel flags. Photoshop could not do better ….

Falter’s micromanaged Israel flag-free photo
Next time use cardboard cutouts: They’re far less trouble – and they don’t feel the cold

Weird – and doubly so for a Vice Chair of the Jewish National Fund. Also weird was that in his speech he never acknowledged that many of the young people on the bus were Israeli. Maybe Falter is fearful of the Israel Haters accusing CAA of being a branch of the Israel Embassy (they have form). Here’s a lesson for him: the day you start listening to antisemites is the day you might as well retire to the golf course. Or maybe it’s Stockholm Syndrome: he feels that charges of antisemitism are blunted if Israel is part of the argument. The problem with that argument is that it becomes self-fulfilling.

You can even hear Falter on the video (29.11) naming me when he asks the flag bearers to “clear out” so that he can have photos free of the oh so embarrassing Israel flags. I refused of course (at 29.26 I shout “the people on the bus were Israelis“). I will not be stopped from carrying an Israel flag in any public place in the UK – not by antisemites, nor by those who profess to oppose them – least of all by someone who is supposed … supposed .. to be on the same side. Of course Falter’s attempt to ban Israel flags – naming me – incited some Trembling Jew acolytes. This deodorant-free man (with a yarmulke) stood close to me in front to try to obscure and intimidate me:

This bearded man grabbed my telescopic flagpole and snapped it. Something only done previously by Israel haters.

Well Mr BraveWarriorAgainstAntisemitism – Your photo plus a description will go to the police with an allegation of assault (if anyone recognises him please contact me…….)

Far too many UK Jews think that Israel is an embarrassing inconvenience, to be airbrushed out of photos. As David Collier writes:

And far too many of us are even willing to point the finger of blame at Israel, as if somehow if Israel just ended the ‘occupation,’ all the antisemitism would just go away. It is as if 3,000+ years of history have taught us nothing

Well I’ve got news for them. Decent non-Jews (like Fiyaz Mughal and Atma Singh, both of whom were with us outside the BBC) respect us far more if we stand up for Israel, than if we treat it like the embarrassing uncle who farts in the corner.

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Addendum: Knowing that most of the young people on the bus were Hebrew Speakers provides yet more evidence that the BBC is lying, Even if a Hebrew speaker wanted to insult a Muslim, s/he would not use the word ‘Muslim’. S/he would say ‘Aravim’ (the Hebrew for ‘Arabs’). (Thanks to David Collier for this point).