Anti-Jewish demo for Jewish News by Jenni Frazer May 19 2015
Antisemitic and far right groups are planning a major demonstration “against Jewish privilege” in Golders Green, the heartland of the community, on the first Shabbat in July. Communal leaders are understood to be asking Home Secretary Theresa May to ban the event.
Police told the Jewish News this week that they are powerless, legally, to stop a static demonstration. It is understood that the planned rally is due to be held at or near Golders Green station on July 4, and antisemitic and neo-Nazi websites have been buzzing for months with information about the event.
Among those thought to be involved in organising the rally – which follows a similar, though unsuccessful event in Stamford Hill in April – is the right-wing group New Dawn. The Stamford Hill demonstration, described by the Community Security Trust as “quite pathetic and largely ignored”, was attended by less than 30 people who were held by police away from the Jewish community.
But Mark Gardner of the CST acknowledged this week that such an outcome “cannot be guaranteed in Golders Green”, He said that CST, which was “fully aware of this explicitly antisemitic demonstration”, was in discussion with both police and government about the next steps. He said: “We sincerely hope that our Jewish community will not be cowed by this neo-Nazi intimidation”.
Adrian Cohen, of the London Jewish Forum, said the forum deplored “the vicious antisemitic message of the proposed neo-Nazi rally. We, along with other major Jewish organisations, have asked the Home Secretary to ban the rally. If it goes ahead we will support those who wish to counter- demonstrate in support of the local community, and the relevant authorities in ensuring that peace and security is maintained in the area.”
A spokesman for the anti-fascist group, Hope Not Hate, said it was strongly opposed to the rally going ahead but wished the community to be both prepared and informed. What is additionally troubling community leaders is the possibility of secular Jewish groups staging a counter-protest – and any resulting violence.
Chief Superintendent Adrian Usher, head of policing in Barnet, said: “Officers from Barnet will continue to work closely with the local community to make sure we fully understand their concerns and to
brief them on the policing operation as it develops”. He said that officers were speaking to the organisers of the rally “to understand what their plans are”.
Police said they were “mindful” of the “passionate response” that was possible, particularly when protests were held at religious or culturally significant sites. But they made it clear that “disorder, crime and incitement to hatred will not be tolerated… and we will take appropriate action.”