Yesterday’s protest in London that brought hundreds of thousands of people into the streets was one of the biggest-ever demonstrations held in London. However, it was not bigger than the Stop the War protest over the Iraq War on 15th February 2003 which still seems to hold the record in history. Clearly, there is a very large group of people who were part of the anti-Iraq war protests, like myself, who are not part of the ongoing protests against Israel. Indeed, yesterday we also witnessed a large protest in Paris against antisemitism – an unusual sight in Europe. When we protested against the war in Iraq by the US over false pretenses that Iraq had WMDs, we never witnessed large demonstrations that stood for opposing principles of the anti-war demonstrators.
There is a clear understanding by many that what is happening in Europe and in North America right now with the wave of pro-Palestine protests, is not driven by a concern for Palestinian lives. Apart from the antisemitism and the hatred for Israel, these protests are also driven by a wide hatred for the West and Western values. Jews are hated in the Near East for being considered the allies of the US and representatives of the corruption of Western capitalism in the Near East – in Europe, Jews are seen in a similar manner. Had there been principled and unequivocal indignation against warring parties and war criminals, the indignation against Hamas would have been as equal and higher as it is for the state of Israel, but it isn’t. There is even justification and rationalisation by the left for the actions of Hamas.
Moreover, there was none of this indignation when even larger massacres were perpetuated by even bigger criminals like Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Ghaddafi is even applauded and praised by many on the left and today’s Arabic dictators over-rule democracy and imprison political opponents with impunity with barely any international condemnation. As the current protests grow paired with an increasing number of attacks against Jews, it is evidently clear that antisemitism is either a cause or effect of the current waves of protests.
What is also evident is that this ongoing rehabilitation of Nazism buries dissident Palestinian voices, especially those who are against Hamas and who believe that Hamas is to blame for the ongoing war in Gaza. The voices of Palestinians in Gaza who desire a different leadership than Hamas are being completely sidelined.