Jewish Watchdog Warns of ‘Serious Risk of Violent Disorder’ at Anti-Israel Quds Day March in London
A prominent Jewish organization in the UK has warned that Sunday may see a “perfect storm” at the annual anti-Israel “Quds Day” march in London, possibly leading to violence and terrorism.
According to the Campaign Against Antisemitism, there will be speakers who traffic in hate speech and incitement and far-right groups have already pledged to counter the march. In addition, another major march is taking place nearby, stretching the police’s capabilities to keep order. The march also takes place in the midst of military confrontation between Israel and Iran and will begin near the Saudi embassy, exacerbating tensions between Sunni Muslims and Shi’ite Hezbollah supporters.
CAA Chairman Gideon Falter stated, “We are hoping that the police will be able to somehow ensure that this passes without incident, but we have been clear with the Home Secretary that this Sunday could be the perfect storm.”
“There is a serious risk of violent disorder and even acts of terrorism,” he continued, “due to the combination of mostly Shia Hezbollah supporters protesting outside the embassy of Sunni Saudi Arabia, confronted by a range of far-right groups, all opposed by a peaceful assortment of Jewish protesters, former soldiers, and Muslim counter-extremism activists, all on the day that the [Metropolitan Police] is stretched securing the massive women’s suffrage march.”
“The pro-Hezbollah parade is a magnet for extremists and we are having to privately prosecute the parade’s leader due to comments made during the event last year,” he added. “The far-right also feeds off it by using it to portray all Muslims as terrorists, and last year it was targeted by the terrorist Darren Osborne before he changed his plan and attacked Finsbury Park Mosque instead.”
“We have submitted a Parliamentary Petition signed by thousands of people from every corner of the UK, and made written representations urging the Home Secretary to immediately proscribe Hezbollah in its entirety under the Terrorism Act in order to give police the powers they need to stop the pro-Hezbollah parade,” Falter concluded. “We are praying that Sunday will pass without bloodshed, but there is every possibility of a tragedy.”
Quds Day was inaugurated by Iran in 1979 as a day of anti-Israel protest. Iran has threatened Israel with genocide numerous times. In London, it has also become a day to express support for Iran’s proxy terrorist group Hezbollah. Based in Lebanon, Hezbollah is guilty of numerous acts of terrorism and fought a major war with Israel in 2006. It has taken a large part in fighting for the Assad regime in the ongoing Syrian civil war in which over 500,000 people have been killed.
The London Quds Day march usually sees demonstators, including children, flying Hezbollah flags, holding anti-Israel placards, and chanting slogans. It is typically met by smaller counter-demonstrations by both Jews and non-Jews.
The UK has proscribed Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist group, but has not done so against the group’s political wing, allowing the march to go forward, as it is considered a political demonstration.
Critics charge that there is no practical difference between Hezbollah’s political and military wings — something Hezbollah officials have confirmed — and that both should be proscribed. Officials like London Mayor Sadiq Khan have supported a blanket ban on the terror organization and oppose the Quds Day march.