Wednesday, July 6, 2016

‘Al Quds’ Day - Walking with the Hezbollah in London

...And as we came around the corner and I began to see that sea of Blue and White in front of me, it is difficult to describe the feeling. Not unlike the sight of land as you approach Ben Gurion on a flight to Israel. I could see my family and my friends. I was home.

David Collier..
Crossing the Great Divide..
03 July '16..

3rd July 2016. It’s ‘Al Quds’ day. An annual event held on the last Friday of Ramadan. Yet another of the ever increasing number of days where an excuse is found to march against Israel. This particular day was introduced by the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979. With Hezbollah symbolism ever present in these ‘Al Quds’ marches, that flavour is never far from sight.

I arrived with my family at Oxford Circus Station. Holding their Israeli flags, they continued on their way towards the counter demonstration to be held near the US embassy. Unlike previous years, grassroots groups such as Sussex Friends of Israel and the Israel Advocacy Movement, had vowed the Zionists would not leave the streets to the extremists.

I was envious. However, I had other things planned for myself. I reached the corner of BBC Broadcasting House in Portland Place, placed a scarf with Palestinian colours around my neck, pulled the hood of the jacket over my head as a disguise and entered the opposition camp.

Upon arriving I was handed a flag calling for the boycott of Israel, and slowly the crowd swelled. A coach arrived, then another. The antizionist Neturei Karta were placed at the front of the demonstration. They were kept that way. A line of protecting stewards were placed behind them and if anyone else tried to nudge to the front during the march, they were pulled away. Jews had to be on the front line, however unrepresentative they may be.

Hezbollah T-shirts, Nasrallah T-shirts, Khomeini T-shirts. These people marched proudly through the streets of London. Someone had a placard that read ‘ We are all Hezbollah’. And I marched with them. Support for radical Islamic extremists. Maybe 350 people in total, maybe slightly more. The demographic was clearly one sided. Over 80% of them looked Middle Eastern themselves. Arabic was the language most spoken.

I was not in this alone. There were two others, acting out as reporters from an international news agency. One of them was swiftly identified and removed from the crowd. The other tried to mingle, eventually talking to someone wearing a Nasrallah T-Shirt who began to glorify terrorists.

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