Imagine having to be reminded not to be racist. Imagine if officialdom itself felt it necessary to whisper in your ear: ‘Lay off the racial hatred, yeah?’ That’s the mortifying fate that befell ‘pro-Palestine’ marchers on their latest big demo in London yesterday: the Metropolitan Police handed them leaflets pleading with them not to ‘incite hatred’ or express support for Hamas.
The shame of it. If there was a march so morally iffy its attendees had to be reminded not to cheer a medieval terror group that recently carried out the worst act of anti-Jewish violence since the Holocaust, I simply wouldn’t go. There’s a delicious irony amid the grimness: the radical left loves to damn the Met as institutionally racist, and yet here was the Met having to tell the left to tone down the Jew hate.
There will be no need for leaflets like that on today’s march against anti-Semitism. Thousands of people are heading into central London not to flirt with racism, but to condemn it. Not to rub shoulders with Hamas sympathisers, but to slam Hamas for its anti-Semitic barbarism. Not to damn Britain as morally irreparable – as some ‘pro-Palestine’ marchers have done, mainly because of Britain’s support for Israel – but rather to appeal to the moral decency that still courses in the veins of this great country.
The noisy minority have had their say every weekend for the past six weeks. Now it’s time for the silent majority to speak. Now it’s time for those of us who abhor anti-Semitism, long for the defeat of Hamas and who believe Israel has every right to defend its people and its democracy from violent neo-fascism to raise our voices in the streets.
I have been on many demonstrations in my life.