Evening Standard obscures anti-Zionist extremism in London with Jewish fig leaf

The article fails to inform readers that the Orthodox Jews in question were members of an extremely marginal anti-Zionist movement (with almost no support in the British Jewish community) known as Neturei Karta - a group "founded on the idea that Zionism is a demonic force", and one which often provides a fig leaf for anti-Semites around the globe.

The Evening Standard’s decision to downplay the extremism at last Friday’s ‘Al Quds’ day march in London – part of an international event inaugurated in 1979 by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini – was evident in the photo used to illustrate the story by Hannah Al-Othman (London pro-Palestine demo sees thousands take to the streets, July 4th).

photo

As you can see in the caption beneath the photo of the child whose face is painted to match the Palestinian flag, the march is characterized as “peaceful”, a word used again in the strapline to describe the event.

However, though the march may have been ‘non-violent’ in the narrow sense of the word, the slogans of many protesters were anything but peaceful.  David Collier (a blogger who attended the rally) and others reported that many marchers held flags of the terrorist group Hezbollah and posters supportng the group. Additionally, The Jewish Chronicle reported a banner at the front of the rally reading: “Dismantling of Zionist State = End Of Bloodshed.”  Another man, according to The JC, carried a homemade placard which said: “Israel is a cancer. We are the cure”.

Now, here’s the opening sentence of the article:

Muslims were joined by Jews in the rally against Zionism that started near BBC Broadcasting House in Portland Place, central London, at around 3.30pm.

A few paragraphs down, there was this:

photo

Below the photo, the article continued by highlighting one Orthodox Jew who joined the march:

Pesach Shloime Hirsch was one of around a dozen Orthodox Jews who joined in with anti-Zionism protestors.

Mr Hirsch, a 47-year-old nutrition researcher who travelled from Manchester to take part, said: “We are here to show solidarity with the Palestinians who are suffering.”

The Evening Standard’s claim that “Muslims were joined by Jews” is extremely misleading.  First, David Collier informed us that there were likely no more than seven Orthodox Jews who joined the march, not a dozen.  

collier's image
Photo by David Collier

However, whether the number is seven or twelve, to paint a picture in readers’ minds of a ‘interfaith march for peace and justice in Palestine’ based on the presence of a handful of anti-Zionist Jews is just dishonest.  

The article fails to inform readers that the Orthodox Jews in question were members of an extremely marginal anti-Zionist movement (with almost no support in the British Jewish community) known as Neturei Karta – a group “founded on the idea that Zionism is a demonic force”, and one which often provides a fig leaf for anti-Semites around the globe. 

video pic
Snapshot of Video: Neturei Karta members meet with former Iranian President Ahmadinejad in NYC, 2007.

It’s one thing for anti-Zionists, like those marching in London last week, to cynically use Neturei Karta as cover for their extremism, but quite another for a mainstream British media outlet to parrot such propaganda by failing to provide even the minimal context necessary for readers to understand the insignificance of their presence. 

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