Exposed: Sinister connections of LSE rabble-rousers to pro-Iranian groups

Crowd that forced Israeli ambassador to flee included supporters of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani


In the immediate aftermath of the anti-Israel protest outside the London School of Economics (LSE) on Tuesday, all eyes were on the viral clip of Tzipi Hotovely being rushed to her car by police and her security detail.

But to truly understand the gravity of what took place, turn to the footage of the protesters. Standing in the centre of the mob was Massoud Shadjareh, the head of the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC). In an interview last night with Iranian state propaganda channel Press TV, he called Mrs Hotovely a “hate preacher”.

In the past, Mr Shadjareh has said he was “inspired” by Iranian General Qasam Soleimani, the former head of the regime’s brutal Quds Force. And one of the directors of the IHRC, Saied Reza Ameli, even held an official position with the Iranian government.

It was reported in May 2019 that Mr Ameli “became secretary of the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution in Iran an official position in the Iranian government”. He was seen speaking at an IHRC conference in February 2018.

Shortly after Qasam Soleimani was assassinated by the US, Mr Shadjareh made a speech in honour of the former head of the elite Iranian Quds Force in which he said: “You are very fortunate to live at a time [when it is possible] to see and to touch and to feel a man like Soleimani. And we hope and we pray and we work hard to make sure that there will be many, many more Qasem Soleimanis.

“We aspire to become like him, we are inspired and we are jealous of his shahadah [martyrdom] and we want the same thing for ourselves and for our loved ones because that’s the best thing that could happen to us.”

At the demonstration outside LSE last night, flags for the Iran-backed, Iraqi Shia paramilitary group Kata’ib Hezbollah — whose leader was killed alongside Mr Soleimani by an American missile last year — were waved behind Mr Shadjareh while he spoke.

In May, Mr Shadjareh appeared alongside a Tehran-based Hamas representative at a panel event for an “International Quds Webinar”.

While demonstrators last night were posing as defenders of human rights, they gave a platform to Mr Shadjareh, whose organisation had published an article including a conspiracy theory that “Zionists” in the UK were using interfaith dialogue to infiltrate mosques and convince Muslims to support Israel.

“Zionists have started to implement an insidious strategy to build ties with the Muslim community in Britain in order to normalise Zionism and the brutal illegal occupation of Palestine,” the article said.

“This cosying up to mosques and Muslim groups is nothing more than a deceitful attempt to normalise the continuing murder, maiming and dispossession of the Palestinian people by using vehicles like inter-faith work... Do not allow your mosque or Islamic centre or organisation to allow Zionists to come in and normalise Zionism and diminish the crimes of Israel.”

Many of the banners carried by demonstrators last night bore the website of a group called Innovative Minds. In the past, it has published at least one article that was apparently sympathetic towards a female suicide bomber.

In other words, even as the crowd verbally attacked the Israeli ambassador for her supposed racism, they were advertising a website that showed sympathy for the killer of innocent civilians — and gave a platform to a man who had spoken about his desire for martyrdom, while eulogising a tyrant.

And in a further dose of irony, while one speaker insisted that “Zionism will never be a legitimate ideal in our spaces”, the Kata’ib Hezbollah flag was seen billowing in the wind behind him.

In the end, neither Mr Shadjareh nor any of the other demonstrators succeeded in disrupting the event itself. The ambassador delivered her speech to a room of interested students and despite the unrest that followed, no one was hurt. However, we have a right to expect more than this.

That figures with such questionable connections were allowed to take centre stage at the demonstration, without a single one of the students objecting, is shocking and something that the CST has been fighting for some time.

We are currently liaising with the police on this matter.

While this demonstration has put many of us on edge regarding the threat to Jewish students on campus, it’s worth remembering that a few years ago, talks by Israeli activist Hen Mazzig and politician Ami Ayalon were successfully disrupted by a crowd that may have included some of the same activists.

That didn’t happen this time round. Hopefully, campus security and the police have learned the lessons from those events.

At the same time, the CST will continue to expose the purveyors of hatred for what they are, laying bare the hypocrisy of those who attack Israel while applauding Iran.


Marc Goldberg is Head of Investigations at the Community Security Trust (CST)

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