Zionist provocation

Openly Jewish opposition

Around the world people are demonstrating against Israel’s war on Gaza. At the same time, Zionist provocateurs and the rightwing media step up their campaign to brand the whole solidarity movement anti-Semitic and give the state the excuse it needs to clamp down. Ian Spencer reports

Yet again, in our thousands, in our millions, around the world, people took to the streets to show their solidarity with the people of Palestine. In London, once more, the April 27 march filled the streets in peaceful determination to show the British state - which is more than complicit in Israeli genocide - that we stand in opposition to what is going on.

The demonstration was also taking place against the background of increased efforts by the friends of genocide to suppress dissent and provoke a reaction from those on the right. Given that they have been exposed as supporters of one of the most odious regimes on the planet, British Zionists are determined to provide the basis for the state suppression of solidarity marches.

On April 13, Gideon Falter posed as an innocent Jewish man trying to cross the road, but was allegedly prevented by Palestine solidarity demonstrators, aided and abetted by the Metropolitan Police. He happened to have someone filming the whole process, as you do. Then, on behalf of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, of which he is chief executive, he posted a short clip of a police sergeant preventing him, apparently on the grounds that he was “openly Jewish” (he was wearing a kippah). This is the sort of situation that can lead to the Daily Mail being spattered with cornflakes, coughed out in self-righteous indignation.

It was not long before the Met apologised for the ‘unfortunate’ turn of phrase. Predictably, Rishi Sunak expressed his outrage and the misnamed James Cleverly, wrote to the Met’s commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, while Suella Braverman, the late and unlamented home secretary, among others, called for him to resign. The Met’s original statement talked about a “new trend of those opposed to the main protests appearing alongside the route to express their views”, despite “knowing their presence is provocative”. However, after being criticised as ‘victim blaming’, the Met issued a second statement saying that “being Jewish is not a provocation” and apologising again.

Later, more video footage was released by various news agencies, showing that Falter had been continually trying to provoke a response from Palestine solidarity demonstrators by crossing the road repeatedly, usually in the opposite direction to the flow of the March. Just in case anyone thinks that is a foolhardy thing to do, it is worth noting that Falter had a few heavies in his entourage, presumably to rescue him if he did get thumped. At least one of Falter’s bodyguards, Vincentiu Chiculita, is employed by SQR Group, which has provided security for the Israeli president, Isaac Herzog.1 SQR Group is run by two former Mossad officers, Avi Navama and Shai Slagter, the former having been a security attaché at the Israeli embassy in London.2 So, not quite the spontaneous wish to cross the road, having ‘just come out of the synagogue’, as a lot of the mainstream media would have had us believe in the days after the incident.

It is also worth remembering that the Palestine solidarity demonstrations have been unfailingly peaceful and participants have certainly been wise to attempts to smear them as ‘hate marches’. The thousands of Jewish protestors who participate, many wearing kippahs - not to mention members of Neturei Karta, resplendent in their Haredi dress - far outnumber the counter-demonstrators and were greeted enthusiastically by the rest of us.

This week’s Zionist counterdemonstration, protected by a police cordon, was on Pall Mall, by the Crimean War memorial (another monument to imperialist brutality). The 50 or so Israeli flag-wavers, solicited little or no response from the thousands of those opposed to genocide. It was an object lesson in dignity and discipline against despicable provocation.

The counterdemonstrations are organised in part by the Campaign Against Antisemitism, established in 2014 - supposedly in response to an “increase in anti-Semitic incidents” after the Israeli attack on Gaza in that year. The CAA remains a registered charity despite complaints from Shahrar Ali, the Green Party home affairs spokesman, that it has failed to be ‘independent of party politics’. Even Margaret Hodge, who was once an honorary patron of CAA, has weighed in with her criticism, saying, without a hint of irony, that “I am fed up with the CAA using anti-Semitism as a front to attack Labour”. By contrast the CAA has been praised by Theresa May and Boris Johnson, who was, among others, very visible in his support for the demonstration organised by the CAA in 2023.


The campaign to characterise Palestine solidarity as a threat has been embraced enthusiastically by The Daily Mail (a paper that was once so appreciative of fascism), which on April 28 carried the headline, “Police are so cowed by the anti-Semitic mob, they even cover up the holocaust”. This was a reference to the fact that a sheet of tarpaulin had been placed over the memorial stone in the holocaust memorial garden in Hyde Park. The Met subsequently released a statement which pointed out that “The decision to cover the memorial was taken by the park authorities, not the police”, which happens during major events in the park, such as the screening of the 2018 World Cup, but the Mail has never been one to let the truth get in the way of a good story.

In the meantime, on campuses across the USA, students have gone into occupation and set up camps to protest at the genocide in Palestine. The police have acted with violence against those at Columbia University, taking students into custody - 56 years after they acted with the same brutality against students protesting against the Vietnam war. Protestors at the University of Michigan have taken to wearing masks to hide their identity, in case the university authorities take punitive action against them. At Harvard the Palestine Solidarity Committee has suspended doing press interviews out of regard for student safety. People have lost their jobs over the support for Palestine, in the UK and US.

Concerns over retaliation and harassment are a feature of the campus protests. Pro-Israel activists have attempted to post demonstrators faces and personal information on social media as an act of intimidation. They have also violently attacked protestors at UCLA.3 During Yale’s protests a choir performed with masks to avoid being identified. Several US colleges have cited ‘anti-mask laws’, supposedly enacted in the 1950s to deter Ku Klux Klan rallies. In the UK police with cameras at demonstrations are now a general feature.


The CAA has made a point of trying to prevent meetings with pro-Palestinian speakers taking place in universities. In Germany, a peaceful congress with Jews and Palestinians was disrupted by 2,000 police and Jewish peace activists were arrested. Yanis Varoufakis, who was due to speak, has now been banned from Germany, but given no rationale, except that it was ‘for reasons of national security’. German police have dragged away peaceful protestors calling for an end to German support for the Israeli war machine, in a camp outside the German parliament. Germany is the second biggest supplier of arms to Israel, after the USA and it has even banned Ghassan Abu Sitta - the British-Palestinian plastic surgeon, rector of Glasgow University and witness to Israel’s genocide in Gaza - from addressing a conference.

Across the world, a movement to stop the slaughter of tens of thousands of innocent civilians is seen as a threat to the state. Those, supposedly on the left, who call for ‘no platform’ for racists, fascists or anyone else are only helping to support the development of the suppression of protest. Foam-flecked rightwingers, who rage against ‘lefty, woke, cancel culture’, are predictably silent when it comes to the suppression of protest against genocide and the merchants of death in the arms industry.

The increasingly authoritarian actions of the state will not be understood or resisted by calling it ‘fascism’. Our response must be rooted in an understanding of the nature of capitalism in decline. That does not mean, as some groups seem to believe, that socialist revolution is just around the corner. But it does mean that the party of the working class must be prepared to resist, without rising to the bait of provocateurs, who have only one aim - the suppression of dissent.

  1. www.sqrgroup.com/our-people-sqr.↩︎

  2. www.thejc.com/news/your-simcha-security-drilled-by-the-mossad-k63npev1.↩︎

  3. Al Jazeera May 1.↩︎