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Protestors scream antisemitic slogans at demonstration outside US embassy in London

One chant referred to a massacre of Jews in the town of Khaybar in 628CE

    Jewish groups have appealed for a police investigation into Friday night's protest
    Jewish groups have appealed for a police investigation into Friday night's protest

    Demonstrators have chanted antisemitic slogans during a protest outside the American embassy in London.

    Thousands of activists gathered at the embassy amid cries of “death to Israel, death to America” following the announcement that the United States would recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

    One chant relating to a battle in which Jews were massacred was filmed by pro-Israel supporters watching the rally on Friday evening.

    “Khaybar Khaybar, ya yahud, Jaish Muhammad, sa yahud” translated to English means “Jews, remember Khaybar the army of Muhammad is returning”.

    The chant is an Arabic battle cry which refers to the battle of Khaybar in the year 628, in which Jews were massacred and expelled from a town of the same name in what is now Saudi Arabia.

    Placards bearing what appeared to be swastikas were displayed in the crowd near the podium where a series of speakers launched attacks on Israel and Donald Trump.

    The London protest was organised by groups including the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition, Palestinian Forum in Britain and Friends of Al Aqsa.

    Bella Hadid, the American model whose father is of Palestinian heritage, was photographed on Friday evening in London alongside activists carrying pro-Palestinian placards, but it was not clear whether she attended the protest in Grosvenor Square herself.

     

    A post shared by Hadid News (@hadidnews) on

    Jewish human rights groups appealed to the Metropolitan Police to take action following the antisemitic chanting, but it is not believed any investigation has yet been opened.

    In a joint statement, the Jewish Leadership Council, Board of Deputies and Community Security Trust said the "Khaybar, Khaybar"  chant could only be interpreted as "a call to incite violence against Jewish people".

    The organisations said: "It is outrageous that these protesters thought that such a chant would be acceptable on the streets of London in 2017. That this comes in the context of a firebombing of a synagogue in Sweden and an attack on a kosher restaurant in Amsterdam only increases our concern. These acts are not criticisms of a decision by the US government but demonstrations of antisemitism.

    “We welcome the condemnation by the protest organisers of this notorious Jihadi chant – which was clearly audible at the height of the demonstration -  but urge them to take action to ensure that such acts do not go unchallenged at their events in the future. We further call on all of those who addressed the rally to unequivocally condemn the chants and undertake not to support or organise any event at which such activity is tolerated in the future.”

    Jennifer Gerber, director of Labour Friends of Israel, highlighted the swastika placards seen at the protest. She said: “It’s utterly disgusting to see swastikas flying at a Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Stop the War organised demonstration. Comparing Israel to the Nazis, a regime responsible for the extermination of six million Jews, is repugnant antisemitism. Those who allowed Nazi imagery to be waved right next to the podium for almost an hour and those who spoke whilst it was displayed should be ashamed of themselves.”

    Further demonstrations against President Donald Trump’s announcement last Wednesday were held in cities including Manchester, Birmingham and Nottingham.

    In Sweden, there was a firebomb attack on a synagogue on Saturday night, but in the Middle East itself, planned demonstrations on Friday petered out across the weekend.

    While there were minor flashpoints in Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank, there were violent scenes outside the US embassy in Beirut, with fires being started in surrounding streets, and Lebanese security forces using tear gas on protesters.

    Similar scenes were reported in Jakarta, Indonesia, with pro-Palestinian banners being displayed in the capital.

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