An annual demonstration for Palestine is due to take place on Saturday. At a time when Israelis are being murdered indiscriminately on the streets of Israel, six organisations have come to together to organise a march through central London entitled ‘End Apartheid – Free Palestine!’
According to the one of the organisers, the purpose of the demonstration is to mark “the 74th anniversary of the Nakba - to call for an end to Israel’s oppression and to assert the right of Palestinians to live in freedom, with justice and equality”.
One word absent from the publicity is ‘peace’. But then spokesmen for some of the groups organising this demonstration are on record as praising Palestinian “resistance”; a representative of one of them has even praised the founder of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. So perhaps peace isn’t foremost on all of their minds.
For example, the current deputy head of the Palestinian Forum in Britain (PFB) is Adnan Hmidan who the Jewish Chronicle exposed as having posted pictures of Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin on his social media, in one case with the caption, “I love this man”. The PFB was co-founded by Mohammad Sawalha who was outed by The Times in 2017 as “a ruling member of Hamas” it is one of the six organisations who have put this demonstration together.
The Times uncovered Sawalha’s position on the Hamas Political Bureau when he visited Russia as part of a Hamas delegation. Funnily enough, a Hamas delegation has just visited Moscow - as Russian shells were falling on Ukrainian civilians, they met representatives of the Russian Foreign Ministry. The delegation reportedly included the deputy head of the Hamas Political Bureau abroad, Mousa Abu Marzook, and Husam Badran, a terrorist responsible for some of the most heinous suicide bombings in Israeli history, including at the Dolphinarium nightclub in Tel Aviv and the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem. In 2012, just after Badran was released in exchange for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Jeremy Corbyn attended a conference where Badran and several other Hamas figures spoke. According to the Daily Mail Corbyn wrote, “The conference... was attended by delegates who had recently been released from prison in return for the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Their contribution was fascinating and electrifying.” Corbyn is currently the Deputy President of the Stop the War Coalition which is also an organiser of Saturday’s demonstration.
Another organiser of the demonstration is the Muslim Association of Britain. Companies House lists Anas Altikriti as the only person with significant control of the Muslim Association of Britain ltd. During one of the largest demonstrations in London against Israel last year he said: “Every single Palestinian faction, including the resistance, represents Palestine and the Palestinian struggle and they must re-enter to the political fold otherwise we here in Britain, the British govt and the entire world will be deemed absolutely irrelevant.”
But who or what is this “resistance” and what does it do? Is Altikriti talking about Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad who, while he made his speech, were launching waves of missiles and mortars at civilian targets in Israel? If not, what resistance was he referring to? A few months after Altikriti made his speech, Hamas was proscribed in full by the British government. That proscription notes that: “Hamas commits and participates in terrorism. Hamas has used indiscriminate rocket or mortar attacks, and raids against Israeli targets. During the May 2021 conflict, over 4,000 rockets were fired indiscriminately into Israel. Civilians, including 2 Israeli children, were killed as a result. Palestinian militant groups, including Hamas, frequently use incendiary balloons to launch attacks from Gaza into southern Israel. There was a spate of incendiary balloon attacks from Gaza during June and July 2021, causing fires in communities in southern Israel that resulted in serious damage to property.”
During the wave of demonstrations in central London a year ago Zaher Birawi spoke on behalf of the PFB. It’s worth noting the group he runs, Europal Forum, co-published a document that claimed: “The vast majority of Jews today trace their origins to the Khazars (Ashkenaz), who inhabited the northern Caucasus region and were judaized during the eighth century CE. Therefore, if members of the Jewish community want to invoke their right of return it should be to the areas which they originally inhabited as opposed to the area of Palestine. Additionally, the Jewish claim of their historic association with Palestine and their link to it is questionable in face of the fact that the majority of the children of Israel refused to join Moses in his exodus to the Holy Land. Similarly, most of them refused to return to it from Babylon, though the Persian Emperor Cyrus the Great had offered to guarantee their safety.”
Recently three Israelis were hacked to death by two Palestinians armed with a knife and an axe. Badran has referred to this as “the El-ad Operation” on the official Hamas website (Google translate). Since those murders social media has been awash with images glorifying Jews being butchered by Palestinians. It is part of a new wave of terror that has seen Israelis gunned down on the streets near their homes.
British Jewry is all too aware of last year’s spike in antisemitic incidents in the UK while Palestinian factions were subjecting Israelis to an indiscriminate bombardment. Rather than praising an ill-defined “resistance”, some of the people in these UK based organisations would do better to reflect on what resistance is and why they think that “Palestinian factions” who spend so much of their time and resources on finding the best way to kill people and so little on trying to improve the lives of the people they ostensibly govern is a positive message to be sending their supporters.