The English Defence League and the London Pro-Israel Rally

Blogger Junipus in the Desert reports from Wednesday’s Zionist Federation rally in support of Israel, which took place outside the Israeli embassy in central London as a response to the Gaza flotilla raid:

There were about 2000 of us, including the EDL, JewishEDL set up by the wondrous Joe Bloggs who set up the LGBT EDL.

Th EDL had reportedly previously announced its intention to join the rally, although there is not much information about how many showed up or what part they played; Tony Greenstein, who was part of a pro-Palestinian counter-protest nearby, alleges that at least one steward was EDL, but other than “Junipus” those who took part in the rally itself have been keen to stress that the EDL was not involved. The BBC reports:

Organisers of the pro-Israel protest said they had made it clear that the EDL, who have been accused of Islamophobia, were not welcome but that a separate space had been reserved for them.

 Jonathan Hoffman of the Zionist Federation writes on his own blog at the Jewish Chronicle that

There may have been EDL members in the vicinity but to my knowledge there were none with the ZF in the area enclosed by barriers…. The BNP and EDL have known links. The ZF will have nothing to do with either organisation.

The Jewish Chronicle tells us that

Rumours that the English Defence League were planning to attend the demonstration appeared to be unfounded. One EDL member was spotted by protesters on the other side of the street but he did not join the throng.

The JC also has an article with further details of the “EDL Jewish division”, noting that

The former CST member, Mark Israel, claimed Jews should back the EDL as an alternative to existing community groups.

However,

Mark Gardner, CST communications director, said: “The EDL intimidate entire Muslim communities, causing tension and fear. Jews ought to remember that we have long experience of being on the receiving end of this kind of bigotry.”

Jon Benjamin, Board of Deputies chief executive, said: “The EDL’s supposed ‘support’ for Israel is empty and duplicitous. It is built on a foundation of Islamophobia and hatred which we reject entirely…”

The “English Defence League Jewish Division” has a Facebook page here. Last year, the EDL website had a hyperlink to the Kahanist “Jewish Defense League” in the USA, although this was taken down shortly after I wrote a blog entry about it.