Report: Zionists organise to disrupt a Saturday afternoon picnic

Zionist demonstrators in Holland Park

On Saturday 25 August, members of the West London branch of the Revolutionary Communist Group along with supporters held an informal picnic at Holland Park to share food and discuss our Palestinian solidarity work in the area.  After we set up, a group of Zionists arrived and sat down about ten metres away. They then began to tear around the park chanting anti-Palestinian slogans, dancing and waving the Israeli flag while taking pictures and filming our picnic.

These particular characters were well-known to us: Jonathan Hoffman and his family had organised this defence of Israeli apartheid. They are often seen among the ranks of Zionists and the far-right opposing pro-Palestine events in London. British Zionists’ hatred of democracy mirrors the racist policies of apartheid Israel, whose leaders have embraced the US and European far right and which recently enshrined in law the second-class status of non-Jewish citizens and could soon ban the Palestinian flag at demonstrations.

Hoffman is a well-known Zionist fanatic, as detailed by David Cronin for Electronic Intifada (25 August 2017). He has been seen at demonstrations with the likes of Paul Besser, Britain First’s Intelligence Chief, and joined a demonstration supporting settlements in the West Bank organised by the English Defence League. Hoffman has written for the Times of Israel blog in defence of disgraced journalist Kevin Myers, an anti-Semite and racist who once called Africa ‘almost an entire continent of sexually hyperactive indigents’ and referred to Somalia as a ‘land of… layabouts’. It seems Hoffman would defend such a disgusting bigot simply because Israel needs the support of people like Myers. At the same time, Hoffman has levelled insults and smears of anti-Semitism at many who are critical of Israel, including Jewish anti-Zionists Jackie Walker and the late Hajo Meyer.

As we spoke to locals about our work and were joined by more of our supporters, the Zionist group called the police and accused us of organising an illegal public meeting. The Metropolitan Police arrived and decided that our picnic was in fact ‘breaching the peace’ and both groups were responsible for the disturbance. All present were instructed to put away their flags and leave the park; we waited until both Zionists and police had gone before packing up at our planned departure time.

This comes at a time when Jeremy Corbyn and much of the Labour left are shamefully retreating in the face of a campaign of spurious accusations of anti-Semitism. Their capitulation is emboldening Israel’s defenders, who see an opportunity to stamp out any acts of solidarity with the Palestinians' struggle. Corbyn and the Labour left have abandoned the Palestinian people in pursuit of their narrow electoral ambitions. Serious socialists cannot do the same.

West London RCG thanks all supporters who attended the picnic for their solidarity and look forward to working with new friends we met through this event.

picnic

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