Saluting Israel–Palestinan Style


The date: 29/06/2008

The Location: Route masters in London


Saturday Sunday saw the Zionists ‘saluting Israel’ in the middle of London’s popular Trafalgar square, as well as a mass mobilisation of anti-Zionists in the UK condemning this glamorisation of ethnic cleansing. There were several events, the Jews for Justice for Palestine (JFJP) held a silent vigil near the square, holding up the names of the Palestinians villages cleansed of its native inhabitants. PSC, BMI, Palestine Forum, Neturei Karta and various other groups also held a rally next to the square. Some activists even managed to get red dye into the large fountains, resulting in them being switched off. I shall leave it up to those who attended these rallies to review them, and a list of articles on this event appears at the bottom of this blog entry.

The Palestine forum, along with the PSC, Palestine Twinning Network, the NUS-BSC, Action Palestine, Friends of Alqsa and FOSIS pooled together to rent three route master buses for the day. They decked them out in massive banners (see photos), and filled them up with protesters, yours truly included. We set off from Russell square at noon and did a tour of London. One of the buses had an open top deck, and the vast majority of people were on this one. Armed with speaker phones and alot of zeal we took off to deliver the Palestinian message to the weekender’s in London. We were met with alot of puzzled looks, got thumbs up, supportive honks, scowls and the classic British two finger salute (read: up yours).

We got off at one point to watch dabke performed by children from Gaza, on a tour of the UK who did a tremendous job, and we picked up members of Neturie Karta. For those of you who have never heard of this organisation they are orthodox Jews who are anti-Zionist, and demand that all of Palestine be returned to Palestinian sovereignty.

They even go so far as to say that ‘the issue of whether the jews [immigrants] should remain is a question that should be left up to the Palestinians to decide’, from what I can gather their opposition is based on theological grounds. One thing about this group that stands out when you meet them, is their decorum, for they are among the most dignified people I have ever come across. We did receive alot of two finger salutes, crass remarks such as ‘go live in the gutter’, and some of the leafleters were physically harassed by having the leaflets torn from their hands, but this was nothing compared to the abuse the Zionists levied against these peaceful men. One of the comments I heard was a man scream at them that they would ‘burn in hell’, the site of Orthodox Jewish men sitting alongside girls and boys bedecked in traditional Palestinian gear must have been too powerful a message of un-anti-semitism for this bigot to handle.

Things really heated up when we approached Trafalgar square, all I could see was a sea of Israeli flags. The square was packed with people! I was sad to see that more turned up to this than turned up to the last Palestine rally held last May. I may be wrong in my estimation of the number of people that turned up, since one of the women with me on the bus said she had expected more to turn up! Still, we had people scream at us, swear at us, make rude gestures and what not. Bizarre really since I would expect supporters of one the worlds most powerful and influential regimes to smile smugly at the motley crew who turned up to rain on their parade, but they seemed genuinely intimidated! It certainly restored my faith in protests!

We lost a large chunk of what I will refer to as bus protesters, who decided to join the rally at the square. The rest of us convened on the open deck bus to circle the square a few more times, shouting slogans, and trying to explain to people the shamefulness of such a celebration. We managed another two laps of the square before we had to leave at the request of the police, the reason being that the celebrations were about to end and they didnt want to have to deal with our bus amidst a sea of Zionists.

All in all though I would say it was one of the most successful protests I have ever been on, we were able to reach alot more people than we would had we been on a standard march, and we certainly did not incur the wrath of the average pedestrian or motorist as we usually do due to roads being closed to accommodate the march. I certainly think the organisers deserve a big hand for their creative and effective action.



Other reviews:

Indymedia

The Fanonite

Israels 60th Birthday

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10 Responses

  1. I agree – it’s good to have all the Zionists in one place and antagonise them with the ugly truth that just won’t go away. That in 1948 they ethnically cleansed Palestine and refuse the refugees the right of return enshrined in international law.

    Thank you everyone who took part! I believe Finkelstein is correct in saying spreading the truth about Israel and what it means to support the state helps to weaken that support (making it unfashionable). As he describes when discussing the end of American Zionism (his new book). I can believe this would be one of the most effective protests.

    And thanks for the review I enjoyed it very much!

    D

    My birthday site has captured most of the search traffic over the last few days – irritating several thousand Zionists looking for information. Only this afternoon was my monopoly broken.

  2. [...] Media: Photographs 1 & 2 | Video 1 & 2 | Excellent Report [...]

  3. God bless Israel. Your pathetic demo failed to get the violent response that you so wanted and which so represents the Palestinians and their supporters. Israels 60th party was a beautiful and peaceful celebration which was a fantastic success. As ever your sad little demo did the Palestinian cause more harm than good. Do keep it up.

  4. Dave1I’m glad you enjoyed the review. I hope Finklestein is right, I really should read that book of his.

    Dave2 You really didnt read my post did you? The zionists were verbally and physically abusive towards the protesters, so that kind of negates what you just said. Oh, and we shall keep up the campaign to end the brutality of the Zionist state :)

  5. Hiya

    Just another Israeli adding her two pence worth for readers reading this precious site of free speech:

    I was there during the parade and it took place on Sunday the 29th June 2008. Saturday is a holy day of rest for the jews and there is no way the Chief Rabbi would have come to speak.

    I think this is indicative of the anti zionist movement – you’ve either just got it wrong or you’re deliberatly trying to misinform the public – how is that at all helpfull for your cause.

    I’m particularly inspired by that brave gentleman who managed to climb up on the screen and force the organisers to turn the screen off in case he got electrocuted. Talk about free speech and democracy. As long as he was happy being able to say what he wanted, he didn’t care that he had ruined the view for the rest of the crowd.

    Talk about turning into the very people you’re protesting about.

    If you want to state your case, book trafalgar square for a sunday and celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Naqba – in peace and quiet with no zionists coming to chant and ruin your commemoration.

    Thats respect and freedom of speech. You don’t give – you don’t get!

  6. Hi Lilli,

    Saturday has been amended to Sunday, I actually remember that we (the bus people) were pleased that the members of Neturei Karta could ride with us as usually our Palestine (be it commemorating the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, the ongoing Nakbe or Free Palestine events) so its weird that I would have written Saturday.

    On that note, Palestine rallies encounter opposing Zionist rallies here in London, and countless ‘behind the scene’ efforts to thwart pro-Palestine/anti-Zionist campaigns here in the UK.

  7. Hi Loolt

    I’d love to see any evidence of thwarting or “behind the scenes” meddling.

    Have you any examples?

  8. im in manchester – so can’t talk about london much – last year we commemorated the Nakba on campus and our little commemoration was graffitied with “happy reunification day” ironically 15th of may (when Palestinians commemorate the Nakba) or 2007 fell on the same day of lunar calendar that israeli celebrates the (the annexation of east Jerusalem) after destroying the magharbah quarter, this (annexation) is considered the start of the process of “Judaisation” of jerusalem -which in real life means the process of pushing arabs out of the jerusalem and flooding the city with Jewish Israelis, this process know in international law as enthic cleansing.
    not a nice graffti!!

    in birmingham the jewish soc openly lobbied the SU not to allow the palestine soc to register with the union. and they were successful for over 4years. this was successful challenged in MARCH this year- after a long battle with the union. most societies get registered in OCT and they only have to fill some paper work – not run a campaign to get recognised.

    i have not been on a palestine demo that didn’t have a counter demo – and i have been going to them for over 5 years now !!!

  9. Apologies for my prolonged absence!

    Lilli Well I remember that last years Palestine rally there was an opposing demonstration/vigil. In the past when I have been more actively involved in campaigning, especially on campus, I have had alot of opposition from the Zionist staff/students on campus (to be expected), and have had erroneous assumptions made about the Palestine society in an attempt to thwart it (e.g. that we would form some sort of militant group on campus!), as well as having to answer to the campus security because someone wanted to ensure that ‘if a Zionist would attend a talk hosted by us we would not ban them from speaking’… when asked whether this ‘check’ was based on something we had done in the past we were told that to the contrary we had been an exemplary society, both of these actions were (in my opinion) underhand attempts to undermine our society by people who clearly had nothing tangible ‘against’ us.. These are just a couple of examples of my personal experience, QuzQuz has supplied more.

    QuzQuz I’m glad Birmingham has finally allowed the Palestine society to register… but why did they ban them in the first place?

  10. Ramadan Kareem.

    Fawazeer @ mab3oos

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