This article originally appeared on VICE UK
On Saturday, English Nazis held a Jew-hating rally in central London. English ultra-nationalists from groups including New Dawn—a group inspired by Greece's neo-Nazi Golden Dawn—rallied outside Downing Street. They waved flags and tried to make speeches over the overwhelming noise from hundreds of anti-fascists who turned out to oppose them.
It was a rather pathetic affair: like a recent anti-Semitic march in Stamford Hill, the far right's numbers were small—no more than a couple of dozen. They were escorted by hundreds of police into a special pen on Whitehall. The pen was quickly surrounded by anti-fascists, who outnumbered them what seemed like at least ten-to-one.
The original plan had been to march in Golders Green—a Jewish area of north London—in an "anti-Jewification" exercise, but Jewish community groups managed to successfully lobby the police and got the protest moved out of their neighborhood. Instead, the rally was held in front of Downing Street, which isn't currently inhabited by any Jews, despite what some conspiracy theorists who were present would probably tell you.
The two crowds didn't get close to each other at any point. A few anti-fascists half heartedly tried to break through police lines, but having been rebuffed, seemed content enough by their sheer numbers not to try anything further.
The fascist protest was joined by a small group of far-right Poles, who shared their anti-Semitic message and seemed unfazed by the irony of being ultra-nationalist immigrants.
It was hard to work out precisely what the fascists' message on the day was. All of their speeches were drowned out by anti-fascist chants and said they didn't want to speak to the press—"the BBC is full of nonces," one explained. The Polish fascists appeared to pretend they couldn't hear me asking them questions.
However, one woman from New Dawn, who looked a bit like French fascist leader Marine Le Pen, was up for talking. She said that they were trying to police British streets—in response to Jewish neighborhood watch groups— Shomrims—which have been set up to protect the Jewish community. Who knows why that community would feel the need to protect itself—maybe the presence of anti-Semites on the streets?
She said that these groups were trying to cover up crimes committed by Jews. The British police have been corrupted by Jews as well, apparently. "The Jewish people are supporting people who are pedophiles," she added for good measure.
The opposition was made up of various anti-fascist groups. I spoke to Bella Brooks, a member of Jewdas, a radical group of Jewish piss-takers, who spend a lot of their time and effort campaigning against Israel. "Because of the decline of the BNP and the EDL—the more dangerous elements are being absorbed by groups like National Action," she told me. "They've started trying to come to places where Jews live, like Stamford Hill and Golders Green—I've been a Jew in London for 29 years and I've never experienced anything like this. This group is genuinely dangerous."
Also present, albeit in smaller numbers, were some right-wing pro-Israelis who were opposing the Nazis. Some of them had views which didn't sit too comfortably with the anti-fascist theme of the event.
I spoke to a woman holding an Israeli flag who described herself as a Scottish nationalist, Irish Republican, and Zionist. She told me that she hated Muslims, who she said were partly behind the fascist demo, "with a passion," that it was a "pedophile religion" and that Palestine didn't exist. "I do not want any of them [Muslims] here... if they have to be here then they have to work... 99 percent of them are on benefits." I resisted asking her if she didn't want to go and join the far-right demo.
It was a weird alliance: the kind of left winger who's just as likely to be seen on a pro-Palestine demo railing against Israeli state-fascism as they are opposing some street fascists, and pro-Israelis; together at last. I guess the fact is, nobody likes a Nazi.
Just for variety there were also a few dozen Christian Zionists in the counter demo. One of them called David, who described himself as a born-again Christian "with a deep compassion for Jews" explained that, reading the Bible literally, the second coming of Jesus would only occur once all of the Jews were in Israel.
"It's a no-brainer for Christians who read the Bible," he said. "From Genesis to the Revelations it talks about God's plan for the world is through the Jewish people. We're making a stand for Israel because the world has gone completely anti-Semitic. If you're a Christian, you support Israel. It's that simple."
According to their reading of the Bible, "we're going to see very shortly the Psalm 83 war, where ISIS surround Israel and they're going to be wiped out overnight. Then there'll be a war with Russia but Israel will win that too, and then it'll be the time of the second coming." Hallelujah!
The fascists were only allowed to protest for an hour, so pretty soon after they arrived, they were being escorted by about a hundred police down Whitehall—all the while being shouted at by anti-fascists—and into Westminster tube station. People spat on them as they walked down the steps, where presumably they took the tube home.
The numbers of fascists was pretty laughable, but Jews and anti-fascists were adamant on the counter demonstration that no matter how many of them there were, they still needed to be opposed. Neo-Nazi group National Action is organizing another White Man March for the near future, activists said, so it looks like anti-Semitism is going to be on the streets yet again.
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