Monday, July 20, 2015

UK: Pro-Israel group ejected from festival due to violence by pro-Palestinian group

Bournemouth Action For Israel, a pro-Israel organization, came to the Tolpuddle Festival.  The festival is organized by the Trade Unions Congress in celebration of trade unionism. 

In short, they were harassed and attacked until the festival organizers told them they'll have to leave for their own safety.  (h/t halevia)

The Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, which has had the trade unionists all to themselves for the past few years, quickly discovered our presence and that was the start of the less-than-welcome reception.

In succession, the volunteers were accused of representing a fascist, racist, oppressive, apartheid, baby killing, subjugating, land-stealing state and that we had no right to be at the festival. In forthright manner, we were informed that serious complaints would be lodged to the organisers with a view to having us ejected. A flash mob suddenly converged on us from the direction of the PSC stall, shouting abuse, throwing our leaflets to the floor and trying to destroy our stand.

Needless to say, when each organisation was invited to explain what it was there for, our leader was greeted by well orchestrated boos and jeers. Having fully anticipated just such a reaction, he calmly asked them if they would like another minute or so to vent their anger. When things quietened down, he was able to inform the hall that our organisation represents a Pro-Israel, Pro-Palestinian, Pro-peace viewpoint and if we could not have civilised dialogue here in England, what chance was there for it to happen in the Middle East.

After these initial rabid outbursts, the volunteers were encouraged to hear from other stallholders and officials that we had every right to be there and although they did not agree with what Israel was doing, we should be free to put over our point of view.

Today, we arrived very early to ensure we would be there before the PSC and as we were in the process of setting up our stand, we received a visit from the organisers. They explained to us that this was going to be the busiest day of the event and that they were short staffed on security. In view of the many virulent complaints they had received about us, and although we had every right to be there, we should leave in the interest of our own and their staff's safety.  more

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