A Jewish man has been arrested for common assault after he drove away socialist, pro-Palestinian protestors who were menacing a kosher delicatessen in Bushey, just north of London.
Jewish News is reporting that witnesses described how a group of around 15 men, who had been taking part in a socialist ‘March for jobs’ unfurled Palestinian flags outside Flax’s Kosher Deli, at about 5.20pm last Tuesday. Some of the customers went out to confront the men, chasing them down the street where the scene escalated into violence.
Hertfordshire Police confirmed the arrest; the man has now been bailed and will have to appear in court.
The manager of the deli, Mitchell Swillman, saw what happened. He told Jewish News: “Tensions are running high as it is.
“That flag, in this area, with all that’s going on in the world in Gaza, it was bound to cause trouble. It escalated as they made their way down to Bushey village. From what I understand these guys were being quite anti-Semitic.”
It is alleged that a participant in the march shouted “Jews aren’t safe – we’re coming to get you.” Yet Hertfordshire Police later issued a statement which read “Officers conducted inquiries… No evidence was found that any race or religious hate crimes had occurred.”
There is a strong Jewish presence in the area, as there is in many of the towns just north of London. One local resident, Lawrence Brass, is also the Treasurer to the Board of Deputies of British Jews, which represents British Jewry.
He commented: “This is an unfortunate incident and I understand that there is much local concern. Our area is being carefully monitored and there is no cause for alarm. The Board of Deputies, working closely in conjunction with the CST [Community Security Trust], has got the matter under control.”
It is clear that many members of the Jewish community are feeling increasingly threatened by the general mood in Britain today. The CST, which monitors anti-Semitism in Britain, recorded 240 anti-Semitic incidents in Britain in July of this year, but fewer than 20 of those prompted arrests or an active police investigation.
In a blog entitled ‘The antisemitic pressure cooker‘ published on the CST’s website, Mark Gardner wrote “The actual data is bad enough, but cannot convey the mood of the Jewish community, with many people telling us that they have never felt so bad, have been under such pressure, nor worried so much about what the future may hold.”