BRIGHTON, United Kingdom – Jews turned against Jews yesterday in central Brighton, even as Col Richard Kemp, former Commander of the British Forces in Afghanistan, warned that that was the precise aim of those determined to see Israel destroyed.
Speaking to a crowd of around 1,000 at the National Rally for Israel and Peace held at the southern English seaside resort, Col Kemp explained how Israel had been invaded by armies from four surrounding nations the very day after her creation in 1948, and has been attacked continuously ever since. However, as her enemies have discovered they can’t win militarily, they have instead “turned Jew against Jew, turned Jews against Israel” in an effort to undermine and eventually collapse the Jewish state.
Even as he was speaking, a Jewish man sporting a keffiyeh (an Arab neck scarf) shouted sarcastic rebuttals through a megaphone, prompting pro-Israelis nearby to engage in a war of words. Police held the two groups apart and the rally organisers stepped in to ensure the event remained peaceful.
Later, the man was heard to say “yalla”, meaning “let’s go” or “come on” in Arabic slang. Although he declined to speak to Breitbart London, one of his associates, a girl identifying herself as “Geoffrey Cohen” was keen to.
Describing herself as pro-Palestinian, she expressed disgust at the deaths of nearly 2000 people in Gaza in recent weeks thus drawing no distinction between civilians and fighters, and said that she thought the BBC was underreporting these events. She was “outraged and appalled” that the Israeli leadership had automatically assumed the support of Jews worldwide, which she considered a conflation between Zionism and Judaism.
Although many of the pro-Israelis at the rally were carrying banners with the slogan “We support Peace; we support Israel”, Ms ‘Cohen’ said she didn’t believe that Israel wanted peace. “Bombing for peace? A rally for peace and Israel is a contradiction in terms”.
“Geoffrey Cohen” is the pseudonym used by members of the extreme far-left Jewish group Jewdas when speaking to the media.
“Israel is not perfect by any means and I don’t agree with everything [they do], but I believe in democracy and I believe in human rights”, said Steve, who had travelled all the way from Wales to be at the rally. A Welsh-Italian Christian, Steve had been prompted to make the trip with some friends to show support for Israel in the face of bias from the British media, and the BBC in particular which he said was “giving the wrong picture”.
Speaking about the pro-Palestinian protestors, Steve said “The gentleman over there is shouting ‘Nazis’. My father fought in the Second World War against Nazis and I would fight against Nazis. I’m for democracy. He is standing up for something that is not democratic and he is fortunate to be in a country where he can protest peacefully. You don’t find many democracies in the Middle East; Israel is one. And if we live in a democratic country, we must stand up with our fellow democrats.”
Taking a stand was the theme of the day, although opinions were mixed as to what form that stand should take. Two Jewish teenagers, Benjamin and Daniel, who had travelled down from London gave voice to feelings of conflict over the rally.
Benjamin said he was at the protest because it was the only way that was available to him to express his views, but felt that “at the protest we see either people with similar views who we don’t need to convert or people who we’re never going to be able to convince otherwise.”
Daniel would have liked to have seen a more explicitly anti-Hamas protest rather than pro-Israel because “Hamas is a terrorist organisation and there is proof that they are using their own people as bait”, but was concerned that religious Jews were ignoring the need for a Palestinian state. Both were unsure how Israel and her supporters should proceed.
The organisers however were unequivocal, using the stage to proclaim that in light of the anti-Semitic attacks of recent weeks “Doing nothing is no longer an option. It’s time to show that Israel still has many friends left in the UK and that no matter what the pressures are, we will continue to support it.”
Friends of Sussex in Israel was formed two years ago by Jews and Christians working together, having witnessed the anti-Israeli protests outside the Ecostream shop in Brighton (Ecostream is an Israeli company). Over the two years the organisation has grown and now boasts more than 10,500 supporters on Facebook.
Other speakers at the rally included Oded Revivi, Mayor of Efrat in Israel who underlined the Israeli desire for peace in the region, and Rebecca Bat-Raphael whose son Arik Frankenthal was kidnapped and killed by Palestinian militants in 1994. She too was spreading a message of peace and hope for a two state solution “with human rights and dignity”.
In stark contrast to pro-Palestinian marches as of late, where cries of “death to Jews” have been heard, Breitbart London couldn’t find a single person calling for the death of Muslims or Arabs at the rally. Instead, the day was characterised by Jewish gregariousness, with the crowd coming together to sing Hebrew songs, dance and share food.