Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Tale of Two Demonstrations

Yesterday the pro Palestine demonstration in London led a lot of the news bulletins. Around 20,000 took part. Ironically for a demonstration that was supposedly pressing for peace, it degenerated into violence, with several shops being attacked. Quite what threat those shops posed to the idiots who broke their windows is unclear.

Today, there was a pro Israel demonstration, attended by 15,000 people according to the organisers. It was completely peaceful. So far, I haven't seen a mention of it on any news bulletins, although there is a report on the BBC News Website. [UPDATE: Stephen Glenn has seen it on both 24 hour news channels and C4 News]

Click HERE for a full report from the left wing Harry's Place blog. Rob Halfon (who works for CFI) put the number of people present much higher at 35,000 and makes the point that those attending were a mixture of Jews, Christians, Hindhus from many different nationalities. Needless to say, radical Islamists tried to disrupt the event but they failed miserably.

I wish I had been able to go. It sounds as if it was a great event, supporting a noble cause - peace in Israel AND Palestine.


JPT said...

The religion of peace supporters lower themselves to violence - it cannot be true!

Andy said...

Jeez Iain, we get the point. You've really got the love for Israel going on since your trip over there! You don't have to go on about it!

Joe Powell said...

I don't really understand what point you are trying to make here Iain - are you suggesting that people concerned about the attacks on Gaza are more likely to trash a shop? And does JPT believe your preposition to violence is based on religion?

I enjoy reading analysis I disagree with on this blog (Climate change, Conway etc) but I do find the gung-ho way in which you've approached this topic to be muddles and unappealing. Does anyone actually believe the actions of the last two weeks will improve Israel's security?

Anonymous said...

Iain, Why not talk about Israel's war crimes and their destruction of civil life in Gaza?

Your neo-con approach to this tragedy is scary. very scary.

Perhaps you need to do a little deep thinking about Israel?

Juliette said...

The pro-Israel demonstration today was peaceful and positive, and called for peace for both Israel and Palestine. No one sought to deny the horrors of the images coming out of Gaza, but many questioned Hamas tactics, such as using children as human shields, and firing weapons from schools. This appears to be a complete contrast to the pro-Palestinian demonstrations which were violent and compared the Jews to the Nazis. Furthermore, in aligning themselves with Hamas, were these protestors calling for the end of Israel?

Anonymous said...

Juliette, I think you might be muddled. Was it a 'pro Hamas' demonstration? No.

I'm sure most people think Israel fully deserve the right to live in peace, but they are their own worst enemy.

Michael Heaver said...

To be fair, I am increasingly going from a neutral position on this issue, to one of supporting Israel along with Iain.

Good to see another example of unity across religions. We are one people at the end of the day.

Old Holborn said...

Michael Heaver

"We are one people at the end of the day."

Tell that to a Jew

Stephen Glenn said...

Iain I don't know what news channels your been watching I've seen todays march on both News 24 and Sky.

Stephen Glenn said...

Make that Channel 4 now as well

Bert Rustle said...

Youtube has a clip of one demonstration:

Why is it that some Police Officers do not have face shields?

Are they walking backwards to see what was being thrown at them? Is this standard tactics?

As the demonstrators could move forwards quicker than the Police Officers could backwards, there must come a point at which they would have to turn and run. Standard tactics?

Was there a lack of leadership?

After the Danish Embassy demonstrations and now this, what will be next - pot-shots at Police Officers, as in Greece?

JuliaM said...

"Are they walking backwards to see what was being thrown at them? Is this standard tactics? "

Actually, that does make sense. If they walk ahead of the rabble, they can't, with their backs turned, see any incoming missles. Facing them, they can, and can take avoiding action.

Hopefully, if they do have to run from the usual mob, the mounted branch are in position to bear down on them at full gallop, which usually makes little Miss Trust Fund drop her missiles, wet her knickers and start screaming for mummy....

Unknown said...

You may well have done so at the time but in the interests of full disclosure could you tell us who arranged the itinerary and paid for your Israel visit?
That's not meant as a snark. I'm just interested.

DespairingLiberal said...

I think my question to you Iain would be what does "Peace in Israel and Palestine" mean to you?

If as I suspect it means supporting the status quo of a surrounded, imprisoned and depowered Palestinian people and a non-negotiable continuation of Israel's illegal occupation of a large number of Palestinian pieces of land, then it is no peace at all.

If on the other hand, you support genuine negotiations where Israel is willing to give up it's extremist policies of occupationism and dropping phosphorous bombs on schools, then I am willing to listen.

Which is it? Do tell.

Old Holborn said...

Careful, Iain thinks that's Libel

Iain Dale said...

Ashann, I declared it before I went here

Iain Dale said...

Old Holborn, not for the first time, I have no idea what you are referring to.

Despairing Liberal, you're not very liberal are you? I have said all along I am in favour of a two state solution, where Palestine has its own independent State and autonomous government. Israel also wants that but can only grant it when the various protagonists accept Israel's right to exist also as an independent, autonomous country. The trouble is that up until comparatively recently the PLO did not recognise this. Now that Fatah do, we have the extremist Hamas which most certainly does not.

Gravel said...

"Today, there was a pro Israel demonstration, attended by 15,000 people according to the organisers."

The organisers of demonstrations almost always exaggerate. The police reckoned there were 4,000 demonstrators.

Jimmy said...

I'm waiting for someone to blame Israeli embassy staff for police injuries on the basis that they were hiding behind them.

Yak40 said...

Too bad the cops didn't treat the Palestinian supporters like they did the Countryside marchers, why is it OK to trash shops etc as part of your demo about something thousands of miles away ? Rabble.

Unsworth said...

Jeremy Greenstock's comments on Today at 08:34 are interesting - and paint a very different picture.

Paddy Briggs said...


Like Andy and others I’m puzzled and a bit bored by your extremist pro-Israel line. Your politics are your own affair of course but I am an occasional contributor on this site because I find your initial threads stimulating and often quite balanced. You’re an old-fashioned Tory it is true and I doubt that I agree with any of your core beliefs – but I do believe that they are sincerely held. Except, that is, for Israel and its Gaza action. Not to see that the attack is wildly disproportionate and that there were other ways for Israel to progress its grievances with Hamas is narrow thinking that is uncharacteristically dumb of you. And to indulge in personal abuse of those of us who take a different point of view is beneath you as well.

Hundreds of innocent men women and children have been killed in the last few weeks by the Israeli armed forces. And you seem to think that it is just collateral damage – you haven’t used that phrase but that’s how your cold and dismissive postings read to me.

 Will you condemn unreservedly the loss of innocent lives – on both sides if you like?

 Will you join the universal call for a ceasefire?

 Will you give your support to those who want a long term solution to be negotiated?

It would help my peace of mind if you did!

Old Holborn said...

In depth analysis of the Gas fields in Gaza.

"1) The short-term objective is to allow Israeli and Anglo-American unchallenged monopolization of the Gaza gas reserves, and continued apartheid-style domination of the Territories.

2) The long-term objective is to create permanent conditions facilitating Israel’s re-encroachment on the Territories, encouraging Palestinian emigration and expulsion from their homes, and absorbing their remaining lands under renewed Israeli settler-colonization programs. "

graybo said...

There was an anti-Israeli government march in Brighton over the weekend, modest in scale (about 1000 according to the police) but utterly peaceful. The police sent only 26 officers and praised both marchers and organisers for the way they conducted themselves.
Just mentioning this for the sake of balance. Let's all hope for a ceasefire soon, eh? Yes, you too Iain.

Bert Rustle said...

metcountymounty was policing one of these demonstrations and give an account of events:

darkwater said...

Hmmm it seems to me that your attitude to the Pro-Palestinian campaign in general - exemplified by this unappetising protest - is all that can account for the inexplicable stance you have taken so far on this issue.

Yes, the situation is far more complicated than those who simply focus on supposedly gratuitous "Israeli agression" might claim and yes Israel does have a right to self-defence.

However, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary - without real equivocation - you are still (apparently) claiming that this offensive from Israel is merely an attempt to protect itself, as often evinced in other articles you write. Israel has only served to radicalise Palestinians in its campaign so far, done precious little to tackle the missile threat and killed hundreds of innocent people in the process. It seems clear that Barak himself held off an offensive until recently, because he knows Israel's real threat comes from Iran, only bowing to political pressure to act now.

Yet what do you focus on with this going on? the plonkers breaking windows in London.
It seems to me that your (understandable) distaste to the simplistic black and white approach of one side, has allowed you to suspend your critical analysis to the disproportionate Israeli action.

The reality - if that word can be used - is somewhere in between the two sides.