Last night, officers from the Metropolitan Police Service shut down digital vans contracted by Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) to drive around London displaying the faces of Israeli children abducted by the antisemitic genocidal terror group Hamas, which is a proscribed terrorist organisation in the UK.
The vans were accompanied by CAA volunteers when, in the early evening at Parliament Square, they were blocked by anti-Israel protesters who threatened and intimidated them.
Police officers nearby did not appear to take action against the protesters. Instead, the police ordered the vans to shut down the images and leave the area. The volunteers were left very shaken by the aggression of the protesters and the apparent inaction of the police.
Our Chief Executive, Gideon Falter, then returned to the same location with the vans. By then, the street was empty, but the police officers were still present, and they again ordered the vans to shut off the images. Mr Falter was physically restrained by the police, preventing him from speaking with the drivers of the van.
We are examining all of our legal options in relation to the police, in addition to our concerns about what this incident says about police priorities and conduct.
“I’ve just had one of the most disturbing experiences in nine years at Campaign Against Antisemitism.”
Who are the police protecting here?
Those standing up to terrorists, or those who sympathise with them?
We are considering our legal options and a public protest. pic.twitter.com/2eTwhXZk19
— Campaign Against Antisemitism (@antisemitism) October 19, 2023
Gideon Falter, Chief Executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “This was the most disturbing incident that I have experienced in nearly a decade at CAA.
“Our volunteers were left shaken by the protesters who were harassing and intimidating them, and the police did nothing. Instead, the officers told our drivers to turn off their billboards and stop showing the faces of children kidnapped by a proscribed terrorist organisation, apparently because their sympathisers on British streets might attack us for showing them.
“Then when I attended the scene the police did the same thing, going so far as to restrain me, supposedly for my ‘own safety’.
“Before we set out, we had worried that these billboards might attract attention from Hamas sympathisers. We never imagined that it would be the police who would stop us from showing the faces of children kidnapped by a terrorist group banned by the UK Government.
“Who are the police protecting here? Those standing up to terrorists, or those who sympathise with them?
“We are examining all of our legal options in relation to the police for this abysmal failure to uphold our rights and protect British Jews.”
In a statement the Metropolitan Police said, “We have watched the video and we understand why this has caused concern.
“The officer were in the area because of a vigil that was happening nearby organised by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign.
“We have reviewed the body-worn video of the officers involved to establish the full sequence of events.
“This exchange happened at around the same time as the vigil came to an end and the priority of the officers was the safety of everyone involved and those nearby.
“We will be making contact with the Campaign Against Antisemitism to discuss the matter further and update them on the work taking place across the Met to tackle hate crime.”