Claims which have been reported in the Israeli press of anti-Semitic comments by Palestine solidarity protesters in Manchester have been shown to be false by a new video that presents a more complete picture.
A YouTube video publicized widely by Zionist campaigners in the city claims to show a demonstrator against Kedem, a Manchester city center shop selling Israeli-manufactured skincare products, making profoundly offensive statements including “I love Hitler” and “big up my boy Hitler.” The video itself is titled “Boycotter claims he ‘loves Hitler’ — Kedem, Manchester.”
The video has been reported by Arutz Sheva, a website run by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank, as showing the anti-Semitic tendencies of boycott campaigners in the UK.
However, a second video, which shows a slightly longer sequence of events, debunks the Zionist version of events. It shows that the man was a passer-by intent only on provoking trouble and drawing attention to himself.
In this film, the so-called protester denies having anything to do with the demonstration against Kedem, and indeed acts quite aggressively towards one of the protest organizers while being led away by police. The organizer clearly states that “this guy is not part of our demonstration.”
The man who made the original comments is then heard to say, “I’m not part of their demonstration” and “there’s no need to be sorry [to the police], I’m not part of you. I’m part of myself. I don’t need to be part of you.”
The original, misleading video joins other unsubstantiated claims of anti-Semitism by local Zionists to try to discredit the Boycott Kedem protesters, and attempts by Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Police to suppress Palestine-related demonstrations in the city.
One campaigner, speaking to The Electronic Intifada, said that he believed that this is related to the forthcoming Labour Party conference in Manchester, and the council’s desire to eradicate protest from the city’s streets before politicians and national and international press arrive.
The attempt to slur Palestine protesters has included Manchester’s main newspaper, the Manchester Evening News, which has given unquestioning support for attempts to maintain business as usual in the city, suggesting that protesters outside Kedem should be removed.
But independent local media have presented more diverse views. One, Manchester Matters, noted that other people involved in the Boycott Kedem demonstration insisted that: “We warned others to look out for [the passer-by] because we don’t want people to use our protests as a platform for those kind of views … Our protest is about the Israeli government, it’s not about race or religion.”
And the local convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, Penny Hicks, branded the man’s views as “obnoxious and provocative,” pointing out that he was a lone voice and that thousands of Mancunians had demonstrated in support of Palestine without racism, anti-Semitism or violence.