By Jonathan Hoffman
August 16, 2010
This record of our conversation is being made public to help ensure that any Guardian article based on our conversation is accurate.
I spoke to Stephen Bates (SB) of the Guardian about the counter-demo outside Ahava on Saturday. Bates was tipped off by Greenstein. I have also emailed this statement to SB.
There were members of the EDL at Saturday’s counter-demo. Bates asked about the links if any between the EDL and the ZF. I told him there are none. I told him that Greenstein’s allegation that there were EDL present at the ZF-organised Israel Solidarity demo on 2 June was pure conjecture. I told SB that we have freedom to protest in the UK and that organisers of demonstrations cannot control who is there. If he or Greenstein wants to control street protests then they need to move to Hanoi, Tehran or (best of all) Gaza.
Further, I told SB that those who associate freely with the racist supporters of Hamas and Hizbolla especially have no business criticising the organisers of the Ahava pro-Israel counter demo for demo attendees who are completely beyond their control.
SB asked me if it was a matter of concern that EDL were there on Saturday. I said it would be if it had been planned/coordinated --- but that it was entirely beyond our control. I emphasised that my record of fighting the far Right is impeccable, witness my activism against Irving and Griffin when they were invited to the Oxford Union Society in 2007. I told SB that there was some crossover between the BNP and the EDL and that the EDL sometimes intimidated Muslims and that both these are reprehensible.
Please note that I am not entering into any discussion below the line on this post