Pro-Palestine protests are to be ‘scaled back’ after a pro-Israel campaigner inviting the English Defence League to join the Manchester rally, MM can reveal.
Protests outside the Kedem Cosmetics shop, who allegedly sell Israeli products, on King Street have been frequent in recent weeks in response to the on-going conflict in Gaza.
Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese compared the protests to ‘1930s Germany’, and yesterday MM revealed that at one protest a bystander had proclaimed ‘I love Hitler’, in front of appalled pro-Israeli supporters.
In the latest YouTube footage to emerge online, the pro-Israel protester said: “My ideology is, my enemy’s enemy is my friend.
“They [the EDL] will turn up here obviously, they turn up all over the country to protest against Muslims because they are the EDL, and that’s their ideology.
“So if they chose to turn up here, we will more than welcome them.”
Some are interpreting it as another indication that that the ongoing protests, which began peacefully, could turn violent.
With the possibility of EDL members joining the protest after the open invitation, Scott Anderson, a protester and spokesman for Manchester Palestine Action, says the group has decided to re-think its strategy.
“We’re looking at scaling it back for a few weeks, not abandoning it but just to keep it as low profile as possible so we can interact with the public because it doesn’t help us to have an aggravated atmosphere there,” Scott told MM.
“There is an agenda I think out there to try and turn this peaceful protest into something less peaceful but we’re doing what we can to deal with that by scaling back the presence on King Street, and hopefully other protestors will follow suit.”
Scott also criticised police officers’ handling of the demonstrations in their bid to clear protesters off King Street.
He says the EDL’s involvement has ‘disturbed’ Manchester Palestine Action, many of whom have campaigned against the far-right.
“Quite a few of us have come from an anti-fascist campaigning background, so obviously we don’t like to deal with the EDL anywhere,” he told MM.
“So the fact that they’ve invited them to come to Manchester to support the pro-Israel movement is quite disturbing for us I think.”
EDL members have already been present at protests according to Scott but he feared the ‘open invitation’ could lead to more EDL, more tension and possibly violence.
He said: “There haven’t really been that many threats of violence so far, but it’s just threatening having them there, because they have a reputation for being quite a violent organisation.”
“We as the Jewish community do not condone the actions of the EDL, and in no way do we support their Islamophobia,” a spokesman said.
“We fully support peaceful harmony between both the Jewish and Muslim communities, and in our opinion the EDL seek only to tarnish this community cohesion.”
“The gentleman who was filmed is in no way representative of our group, and his stance must not be used to reflect the overall opinion of the Jewish community.”
Main image courtesy of Steve Spy via YouTube, with thanks.
Inset courtesy of MrGarethM, with thanks.