Al-Quds Day’ Rallies See Hezbollah Flags Flown on Streets of London ‘Without Fear of Consequence’ (VIDEO) Lea Speyer/Algemeiner.com July 4, 2016Video link/https://youtu.be/aBufXyrhdEo
Hezbollah flag being flown during 2016’s Al-Quds Day march in London. Photo: Steve Winston.
The leader of a prominent British pro-Israel group spoke out against the flying of terrorist flags on the streets of London during an anti-Israel rally over the weekend, telling The Algemeiner on Monday that such open displays of support for terror groups should not be tolerated.
“Hezbollah flags were once against being flown seemingly without fear of consequence,” said Simon Cobbs, co-chair of Israel advocacy group Sussex Friends of Israel (SFI), whose organization was one of three main sponsors of Sunday’s counter-demonstration against the annual anti-Israel “Al Quds Day” march.
As reported by The Algemeiner, the annual march has emerged as a festival of incitement against Israel. In previous years, the flags of Hezbollah, Hamas and ISIS have been flown, with rally organizers failing to issue condemnations of open displays of support for terror. In the UK, only Hezbollah’s military branch — which shares the same flag as its political branch — is classified as a terrorist organization.
Cobbs told The Algemeiner that numerous sources who infiltrated the march said rally organizers sent children — some wrapped in Hezbollah flags — and members of the marginal Haredi anti-Zionist group Neturei Karta to the head of the procession, seemingly to provoke pro-Israel counter-demonstrators. “Highly offensive” anti-Israel placards — such as “Dismantling of Zionist State = End Of Bloodshed” — were waved by protesters, he said.
At one point, a “tense standoff, with both groups no more than a few feet apart,” took place, Cobbs said, adding that “police did a fantastic job in ensuring the safety of all involved.”
According to police estimates, “approximately 500-600 people gathered in solidarity with Israel from communities across the UK, including Jews, Christians and Muslims,” Cobbs said. “We took to the road outside the US Embassy to say ‘No to terror – Yes to peace.’”
While the counter-demonstration had “many aims, all of which were not only achieved but mostly surpassed,” two great victories emerged, according to Cobbs.
“It was our intention to highlight the flying of a proscribed terrorist group’s flag in London. Tory MP Matthew Offord, who spoke at the rally, has again pledged to raise the matter in parliament and work on ensuring that the loophole in the law that allows it is closely scrutinized,” Cobbs said.
Offord already appears to be keeping his promise.
On Monday, it was reported by the UK’s Jewish News that the parliamentarian wrote a letter to the Assistant Commissioner at the Metropolitan Police voicing his objections to the flying of the Hezbollah flag, which he wrote is “contrary to the Section 13 of the Terrorism Act (2000).”
The second major victory, Cobbs said, is that “the day also proved that a small but growing number of people here in the UK are becoming more willing to show their support for Israel despite troublesome times.”
“The hate of Al-Quds has been unopposed for over a decade and this year we certainly made it very clear that not only is Israel not going anywhere, but that we will not allow their lies and hate to remain unchallenged any longer,” Cobbs told The Algemeiner. The pro-Israel demonstration — titled “It’s Time To Stop The Hate: Stand With Israel” — featured speeches by Board of Deputies president Jonathan Arkush, Jewish Leadership Council CEO Simon Johnson, Zionist Federation president Paul Charney and UN Watch director Hillel Neuer.
Watch footage from London’s Al-Quds Day rally below: