Israeli flags not welcome at London rally against anti …

Posted By on July 3, 2015

LONDON A bitter row broke out at the end of a rally Friday in Golders Green, north London. Under the slogan Golders Green Together, the rally was called to demonstrate opposition to a proposed neo-Nazi gathering that had been planned for the neighborhood, which is nicknamed Londons Jewish heart. But the display of Israeli flags at the largely good-natured event proved divisive.

Earlier this week, Londons Metropolitan Police announced that it had relocated the neo-Nazi rally to a secure area in Richmond Terrace, Whitehall, where the demonstrators will be confined to a one-hour slot on Saturday before being made to disperse.

In preparation for the anticipated neo-Nazi invasion, however, mainstream Jewish opponents, including the umbrella organization the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the London Jewish Forum, and the pluralistic anti-fascist group HOPE Not Hate, had banded together in Golders Green to declare a Day of Action on Friday.

A variety of faith communities in the area had lent their support to the Day of Action, and organizers decided it would go ahead despite the relocation of the far-right action.

On Friday morning two women appeared at the event carrying a huge Israeli flag and proceeded to decorate parts of the Golders Green war memorial, where the rally was being held, in Israeli bunting and pennants.

Sharon Klaff (left) and Amber Shetreet, claimed to represent five grassroots organizations which monitor anti-Semitism, and sparked a quarrel at the Golders Green Together rally against neo-Nazis with their use of Israeli flags, on July 3, 2015. (Jenni Frazer/The Times of Israel)

The women, Sharon Klaff and Amber Shetreet, claimed to represent five grassroots organizations which monitor anti-Semitism. They denounced the Board of Deputies for what they called its kumbaya cooperation with HOPE Not Hate, which they insisted is virulently anti-Israel. (Gemma Levine, HOPE Not Hates deputy director, emphatically denied this claim.)

Although the women attempted to broadcast their ideas through a megaphone during the mornings event, for the most part the other participants, busy draping lamp posts and flower troughs in the Golders Green campaign colors of gold and green, did not interact with them.

But a furious Israeli businessman, Eyal Landau, was not ready to ignore them. Despite angry protests from Klaff and Shetreet, Landau accused them of disrespecting the Israeli flag.

People died for that flag, he proclaimed, as he went around the war memorial taking down the womens flags. You have no right to use this flag here, Landau told the women. You are doing great damage. This event is not about Israel, it is about anti-Semitism. Enough is enough.

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Israeli flags not welcome at London rally against anti ...

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