This article was originally published at the Gatestone Institute
Recent anti-Israel protests have been attended by thousands across Europe. These protests come in opposition to attempts by Israeli forces to quell the rocket fire aimed at Israeli citizens by the Palestinian terror groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
In Britain, the protests in support of Hamas have been chiefly organized by a mixture of Sunni Islamist groups and groups aligned with the Socialist Workers Party. The attending protestors, though, seem to come from across the political and religious spectrums.
European hatred for the small Jewish state, or Jews in general, apparently continues to transcend all ideological differences to the point where pro-Assad activists can march alongside Sunni Islamists, while neo-Nazis stand shoulder to shoulder with Marxists.
Parliamentarians such as Andy Slaughter MP and George Galloway MP walked next to Islamist activists such as Ismail Patel, a supporter of the late French Holocaust Denier Roger Garaudy. Patel advocates the killing of adulterous women and has previously stated: “Hamas is no terrorist organization…we salute Hamas for standing up to Israel.” Marching between Andy Slaughter and Ismail Patel was Hafiz al-Karmi, an official from the Palestinian Forum of Britain, one of the UK’s leading pro-Hamas organizations.
Activists from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, closely aligned with Britain’s Socialist Workers Party, seemed happy to march alongside James Thring and Lady Renouf, two neo-Nazi activists.
Thring, described as “an anti-Zionist activist who has been vocally supported by former the Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke,” has been featured in revisionist pro-Nazi documentaries and is aligned with the “New Right” society, a British neo-Nazi organization.
Lady Renouf claims that Judaism is a “repugnant and hateful religion,” and is described by Searchlight Magazineas “the chief cheerleader for disgraced Holocaust denier David Irving. Renouf has contributed to the defense of several other Holocaust deniers and has since become one of the most influential figures in this murky anti-Semitic subculture.”
Activists from the Neturei Karta, an extreme anti-Zionist sect, have also been a recurring presence at recent anti-Israel protests. Neturei Karta recently protested in support of the Hungary’s “neo-Nazi” Jobbik party, the officials of which have “rejoiced” at the deaths of Israeli soldiers killed by Hamas terrorists in Gaza. In 2006, Neturei Karta’s UK branch leader, Ahron Cohen, stated that those Jews who perished in the Holocaust “deserved it.”
Other protestors have included activists from the Islamic Human Rights Commission, an Iranian-aligned Islamist group. Despite the Sunni-Shia fighting in Syria and Iraq, supporters of the pro-Assad terror group, Hezbollah, appeared to have no qualms about marching against Israel alongside supporters of Sunni jihadists waving the Black Standard, the preferred flag of Sunni Islamist terrorist organizations.
Other organizing groups behind the protests have included: the British Muslim Initiative, the president of which isMohammed Sawalha, a fugitive Hamas commander who, the BBC reports, is “said to have masterminded much of Hamas’s political and military strategy;” War on Want, a taxpayer-funded charity criticized for its use of “anti-Semitic themes to attack Israel” and its associations with a number of extreme anti-Semitic organizations; as well as Stop the War Coalition, the vice-president of which, Kamal Majid, has urged support for the Assad regime because of their “long history of resisting imperialism.”
In July, at one anti-Israel march through London, Algerian protestors, some waving Socialist Workers Party placards, chanted “Heil Hitler.” Leading anti-Israel activists such as Owen Jones, however, falsely claim that anti-Semitism only emanates from neo-Nazi groups. Jones also states that opponents to these anti-Israel protests are encouraging anti-Semitism themselves by devaluing the meaning of anti-Semitism through its overuse as a means to “silence critics of Israel’s occupation.”
Groups organizing these protests may claim that anti-Israel protests are not anti-Semitic, but these assertions are clearly contradicted by the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Britain that peak during moments of anti-Israel hysteria whipped up by these very same groups. The number of anti-Semitic attacks in July reached more than double the usual number.
Despite the organized mass-slaughter of Christians and Muslims by Islamist groups across the Middle East, the hotchpotch of extremist groups in Europe still find common cause in their outspoken hatred for Jews.
Groups such as the Palestine Solidarity Campaign are happy to protest the Jewish state, but have refused to express indignation over the tens of thousands of Palestinians currently being starved out by Assad’s forces in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria. The Stop the War Coalition, meanwhile, continues to provide platforms to pro-Assad speakers.
In continental Europe, the hatred felt seems even worse. Protestors in Paris, Berlin and Antwerp chant death threats against Jews, set fire to synagogues and loot stores in Jewish neighborhoods.
As commentators have noted, the anger expressed at Israel’s existence does not seem to apply to the far bloodier actions of Islamist terror groups across the Muslim world. Douglas Murray, writing in the Spectator,observed of the protestors: “These are the people who stayed at home throughout the Syrian civil war, stayed at home when ISIS rampaged across Iraq, stayed at home when Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab carried out their atrocities across central Africa and showed no concern whatsoever when the Muslim Brotherhood was running Egypt into the ground. Yet they pretend to care about Muslims.”
How many Muslims and Christians must be murdered before these Western protestors look up from their obsession with the Jews?
Mehmet Gormez, head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate, recently claimed that around the world each day an average of 1,000 Muslims are killed – of which, he declared, “Almost 90 percent…are killed by other Muslims, by their brothers.”
Or, to put it in another context, if the figure is accurate, every four days, Islamists murder more Muslims than those who have died in the last ten years of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
On the other hand, a number of Western commentators have complained that a lack of Israeli fatalities, due to the success of the Iron Dome missile-defense system, leaves the media with little choice but to blame Israel for the recent conflict with Hamas. As Hilik Bar, Secretary General of Israel’s Labour Party, put it: “The coldhearted subtext is that Israelis must die in order for their military campaign to gain any sympathy.”
Together, these concepts make for rather a grim arrangement: for Israel to receive any leniency in the Western press, more Jews are supposed to be killed; meanwhile, countless Muslims, it seems, can slaughter each other without eliciting any condemnation in the streets of London or Paris.
If anything unites these Western protestors of the Israeli state, it is not just their hatred for Jews, it is their zest for death and suffering.