Israel has become the Gideon Falter of the whole world

Just like the campaigner, the Jewish state is victim blamed

April 26, 2024 15:15

After more than six months of demonstrations by Palestinian-supporting hate mobs, it took one bold initiative to demonstrate that Britain’s Jews have been abandoned by the Metropolitan Police.

Gideon Falter, chief executive of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, tried to cross the road in central London where anti-Israel demonstrators were marching. He had been to synagogue and was wearing a kippah and carrying his tallit bag.

In a confrontation that has now became famous, he was stopped by a police officer who said: “You are quite openly Jewish. This is a pro-Palestinian march. I’m not accusing you of anything but I’m worried about the reaction to your presence.” If he chose to remain, he would be “causing a breach of peace” and arrested for antagonising a large group of people, the officer added.

Whether or not Falter was being disingenuous, as the police claimed, he dramatised two important things. Firstly, those supposedly “peaceful” marchers against Israel pose a real threat to Jews; secondly, in attempting to protect Falter himself (under threat of arrest), the Met showed how it was failing to protect Jews in general.

The hard truth is that the mobs threatening violence are simply too enormous for the police to handle. Resisting them would create a riot.

That’s principally because successive governments have done nothing to curb Islamic extremism, which is driven by murderous hatred of Israel and the Jews and which, aided by the hard left, is the main driver of these demonstrations.

Anyone who points out the endemic antisemitism in the Muslim community is vilified as an Islamophobe. It was therefore more than a bit rich for the Board of Deputies, riding on the back of Falter’s coup de théâtre, to demand of the Home Office that the police do more to protect Britain’s Jews when the Board itself insists on equating Islamophobia with antisemitism, thus silencing truth-telling about the threat to Jews from the Muslim world.

Another hard truth is that the government and police believe that the anti-Israel marchers must be free to protest against the Gaza war because they are expressing a legitimate point of view.

But these marches aren’t harmless protests. They broadcast the glorification of terrorism, call for the destruction of Israel, exultantly assert jihadi power over Britain and incite violence against Jews.

After the October 7 Hamas pogrom, France and Germany banned all pro-Palestinian marches because they immediately understood that these would involve anti-Jew, terror-supporting incitement.

Britain, however, fails to grasp the difference between protecting freedom of speech and facilitating intimidation. So the police believe their task is to allow the two sides to have their say and keep them apart to prevent violent disorder.

This is where the really perverse logic kicks in. If the goal is to prevent violence on the streets, it doesn’t matter that the anti-Israel marchers are screaming threats to Jews. If the Jews weren’t present, goes this thinking, there wouldn’t be any threats against them. So it’s the Jews who are hustled away and arrested if they object.

This is to blame the victim.

Britain and other western countries do exactly the same to Israel itself. They tell Israel that its activities provoke resistance. They tell it that it antagonises a large group of people in the region merely by being openly Zionist.

The fact that Israel is targeted for extermination is waved aside as untrue or irrelevant. If only it wasn’t “occupying” the disputed territories, if only it wasn’t refusing to allow a Palestine state, if only it wasn’t waging war in Gaza, goes the charge, the violence would stop.

The fact that Israel is acting legally and morally in its defence is denied. If Israel wasn’t there, Palestinian terrorism wouldn’t be happening — just as if Falter wasn’t there, the marchers screaming “scum” at him would be absolutely lovely people all singing Kumbaya. And just as antisemitism wouldn’t exist if the Jews weren’t in the world at all.

Over both Israel and the anti-Israel marches, this ludicrous and lethal attitude is based on fear and ignorance.

Terrified of the huge mobs, the police target instead the putative victims who pose no threat to anyone – and whose counter-protest last Saturday was called off after threats were received.

The Palestinians threaten permanent and violent mayhem against Israel, while their Arab and Iranian puppeteers demonstrate that they will attack any country that backs it. So Britain and the west target Israel for punishment instead over the absence of a Palestine state — which the Palestinians have been offered multiple times but have refused.

The failure to protect Jews from the hate marches has arisen from a catastrophic failure to acknowledge the nature and extent of Islamist extremism in Britain, the significance of antisemitism as a marker of cultural collapse and the genocidal reality of the Palestinian cause.

This makes the Palestinian flags and keffiyehs that are now regular items of street furniture and fashionable clothing into a fearsome menace, thrust in the faces of frightened British Jews.

This isn’t about policing strategy. It’s about British cultural survival.

Melanie Phillips is a Times columnist

April 26, 2024 15:15

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