Pal convoy by Jenni Frazer for the JC May 2021
Police and the Community Security Trust (CST) were working in close co-operation on Sunday as reports flooded in of a convoy of “pro-Palestine” cars driving through Jewish neighbourhoods in north-west London, with the drivers shouting antisemitic abuse and threatening to “rape Jewish daughters”. Some of the passengers shouted: “Free Palestine”, followed immediately by “F*** the Jews, rape their daughters”.
The cars, covered in Palestinian flags, are understood to have come from Bradford and to have driven down to London on Sunday morning. A social media posting said there was also a group of cars which had driven from Slough to join up with the other convoys.
The CST said it had been “deluged” with reports from St John’s Wood, Hendon, Hampstead, Golders Green, and Swiss Cottage in Finchley Road.
The convoys — of up to six or seven cars in each group — drove past startled onlookers, shouting abuse as they drove past or when they drew up at traffic lights. A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: “We are aware of a video appearing to show antisemitic language being shouted from a convoy of cars in the St John’s Wood area this afternoon. Officers are carrying out urgent enquiries to identify those responsible. This sort of behaviour will not be tolerated”.
There were reports that the convoys were joining up in central London and were setting off firecrackers in the Westminster area, but this could not be immediately confirmed. Earlier, police said: “We are aware of a number of cars that have joined a demonstration in central London this afternoon. Road closures are in place around Whitehall and disruption is expected. Officers are in the area and are engaging with those taking part”.
At the time of writing no arrests had yet been made.
The CST spokesman said that “a very close eye” was being kept on the convoys, particularly as they were likely to have to drive back through Jewish neighbourhoods on their return to Bradford. He said that there was a heightened CST presence in any case because of the two day Shavuot holiday, which begins on Sunday night. He advised the community, particularly those walking to synagogue: “We understand that this may have been very alarming to view. People should be vigilant, calm, but if they experience anything aggressive, then please report it.”