The disgusting bigotry of the poster-rippers

Now people are going around London tearing down posters about kidnapped Israelis.

Tom Slater

Tom Slater

Topics Identity Politics Politics UK

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When you see a poster about a missing person, do you feel an overwhelming urge to tear it down? When you are confronted with the victims of a racist pogrom, do you think to yourself ‘ah, stop going on about it already’, and start telling everyone nearby to stop their blubbing?

Of course you don’t. Because you’re not a monster. But on the streets of London over the past two weeks an alarming number of people have been carrying on exactly like this, in response to a poster campaign aimed at highlighting the plight of the 200 predominantly Jewish Israelis who have been kidnapped by Hamas.

Jewish and Israeli activists have been putting posters up across central London and other cities. Each one bears the name and photo of an innocent man, woman or child who was taken by the anti-Semitic terrorists of Hamas two Saturdays ago. The aim seems to be to ensure that the world doesn’t forget about these missing civilians, whose devastated families currently fear the worst.

A humanistic, heartfelt initiative, you might think. Not according to the string of people who have been filmed ripping the posters off walls, defacing them and lecturing the Jewish activists who put them up about the supposed evils of Israel, in a series of sickeningly similar encounters that have now gone viral on social media.

They really need to be seen to be believed. ‘Oh, fuck off’, says one poster-ripper, as she is confronted by the activists. ‘They’re kidnapped!’, shout the activists. ‘Yeah, yeah, what’s happening in Palestine?’, she responds. She then claims the posters include ‘inaccurate information’, because they mention women being raped by Hamas. ‘Do you have any evidence of that?’

This is a recurring theme of the videos. Not only are the poster-rippers offended by any reference to the Jewish suffering in Israel and Gaza at the moment, they also seem to think it’s being sexed up. After a young man and his girlfriend were filmed ripping down posters of kidnapped kids, an activist confronted them, telling them he knows one of those kids. ‘Really, where’s your proof?’, comes the cocky response.

Others have been filmed launching into impromptu, historically illiterate lectures about Israel and Palestine, as if that explains why they are destroying posters about missing innocents. ‘75 years of genocide’, says one young woman in a hijab, repeatedly, as she is given a dressing down. One man scrawled ‘coloniser’ over the faces of missing children.

When all else fails, they resort to foul-mouthed mockery. ‘I don’t care, fuck Israel’, says a woman in another video, ripped posters in hand, as she flashes her middle finger at the camera. ‘You’re pieces of shit… go cry, go cry.’

The inhumanity, the smugness, the constant insinuation that these sneaky Jews are making stuff up… There have been some disgusting scenes on the streets of London these past two weeks, from protests celebrating Hamas’s slaughter of 1,400 Israelis to a surge in anti-Semitic hate crime, but there is something about these poster-rippers, with their casual, chuckling disregard for kidnapped Jews, that really hammers home the scale of the bigotry we’re dealing with.

Worse still, it isn’t just racist passersby who are stopping Jews from campaigning for the return of Hamas’s victims. The Metropolitan Police have been getting in on the act, too – albeit for different reasons. Last night, the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism released footage of police in Westminster telling its activists to turn off their billboard vans, bearing the names and photos of kidnapped Israelis, and leave central London for their own safety. (The cops feared the Jewish activists would clash with pro-Palestine activists down the road.)

Shameful doesn’t come close to it. There’s the Jew-hatred, then there’s the cowardice. There are those who are so marinated in Israelophobia that even the image of an imperilled Israeli child mortally offends them. And then there are the authorities, who last night unwittingly became the armed wing of the poster-rippers, telling Jewish activists it would be better all round if they took their images of kidnapped Israelis elsewhere.

We gentiles cannot turn away from this bigotry, purely because we have the privilege of ignoring it. Our Jewish brothers and sisters have no such luxury. They can’t even campaign on behalf of their missing friends and loved ones without being sworn at and mocked in the street. The time to stand up to this is now.

Tom Slater is editor of spiked. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Slater_

Picture by: YouTube.

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Topics Identity Politics Politics UK


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