A coalition of neo-Nazis have threatened to hold a second demonstration against the Jewish community in London, following a similar rally held earlier this month.
The coalition – made up of a number of small splinter groups from the British far-right, as well as several Polish immigrant neo-Nazis – held a small demonstration on April 18 near the northeast London neighborhood of Stamford Hill, home to the largest Orthodox Jewish community in Europe, to protest what they called the “Jewification” of the UK.
In particular, the neo-Nazis focused their anger on the Shomrim, a volunteer community patrol manned by Orthodox Jews which works closely with police to help tackle minor crimes and antisocial behavior.
Among those involved were activists from the openly neo-Nazi National Front, as well as a far-right splinter group calling itself the “Racial Volunteer Force”.
Despite the fanfare over the event it was a relatively sad affair, held in Hackney just outside Stamford Hill and with only a handful of middle-aged and older anti-Semites in attendance. A small counter-demonstration of anti-fascists heckled fascist speakers throughout with chants of “Nazi scum off our streets!”
The man who initiated the rally, Joshua Bonehill, was not in attendance himself, having been charged in a separate case and banned from the area.
But undeterred, the organizers have now threatened to hold a similar demonstration in Golders Green, northwest London, another neighborhood with a large Jewish community.
Gabriella, a Jewish student living in Golders Green, said she was confident the attempt to stoke up racial hatred in an otherwise peaceful neighborhood would fall flat.
“The organizers and participants of this rally are simply showing their hateful ways. Golders Green is an amazingly safe area where people from all backgrounds get on and live together – you just need to walk through the streets and that will become quite obvious,” she said.
“All that this rally will achieve is creating an even stronger bond between those of us, regardless of religious affiliation, who are united against facism and xenophobia.”
The development will however raise further concerns over a surge in anti-Semitism in the UK, which reached record levels over 2014.
Last week, on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel, a report revealed a shocking rise in the number of violent anti-Semitic attacks in Europe last year, with France and UK experiencing the greatest increase.
The study Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry found a full 766 violent anti-Semitic acts in Europe last year, committed either with or without weapons and via arson, vandalism, or direct threats against Jews or Jewish institutions such as synagogues, schools, community centers and others.
And while most anti-Semitism in western Europe has tended to come from Muslim extremists and elements within the far-left, a resurgent far-right is also causing increasing concern.
A British paper recently exposed how an “unprecedented” conference of holocaust deniers was held in an expensive central London hotel – and how the police did not act to prevent it despite having prior knowledge.
Jonathan Sacerdoti of the Campaign Against Antisemitism told Arutz Sheva that police need to do more to stamp out the threat of neo-Nazis and other far-right anti-Semites.
“Last week we marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen Nazi concentration camp by British troops. Celebration of Nazism in 2015 is an affront to Britain and its proud history of standing against Nazism,” he said.
“The police and the crown prosecution service must act now, decisively and strongly, against Jew hatred and racism. If preaching hatred of Jews goes unpunished something is very wrong in modern Britain.”
Sacerdoti questioned why law enforcement agencies were not taking a tougher stand against such blatant anti-Semitism, saying authorities’ inaction cast doubt on the sincerity of politicians’ numerous pledges to fight anti-Semitism.
“If the threshold for prosecution has not been crossed by those reported to be advocating Nazism and reportedly describing Jews as ‘children of darkness’ with ‘tentacles’ of control, then the legal threshold must be changed,” he said, referring to comments made at the London holocaust denial conference.
“How can Jewish people be expected to take seriously the government and police’s guarantees of zero tolerance of anti-Semitism if this sort of brazen incitement can go unchallenged and unpunished?” he asked. “These speakers from abroad should have been barred from entering the UK in the first place, just as other hate preachers have been.”
“Jewish people today are understandably concerned for their safety. These events will not calm their fears, especially if they go unpunished by the state.
“This is not just a problem for Jewish people, but something that challenges core British values, and must be dealt with robustly and decisively.”
A clip from the rally can be viewed here: