This July, according to The Algemeiner, the right-wing group the English Defence League is going to be organising a rally in the primarily Jewish neighbourhood of Golders Green in London.

The rally, which is advertising the burning of a copy of the Talmud (Jewish oral law) and some Israeli flags - though the flags will be dismembered by hand, "which apparently sidesteps the legal complications of burning national flags." which is a fairly handy way of ensuring your bigotry stays on the right side of the law, really - is ostensibly to protest the actions of Israel and to call for it to be treated as a state which has been party to war crimes.

Another reason for the rally will be to protest the presence of the Shomrim in the neighbourhood, since to the EDL it implies that the presence of police are not enough.

The Shomrim are Jewish civilian patrols who specifically focus on and attempt to stop specifically anti-Semitic violence, which is unfortunately no small problem, particularly in a predominantly Jewish neighbourhood. It's important to note that these patrols are not only ratified by the police, but also trained by them, a fact which the EDL either doesn't know (or more likely) doesn't care to know.

The banner for this protest reads "This is London, not Tel Aviv". While that is true, it demonstrates the fundamental problem with the EDl's approach to this topic. While it is easy to say that hate doesn't need or want to make sense, more people than would first be apparent confuse Israel's government with its official religion, and this is a mistake.

Much of Israel's judicial system is influenced by Jewish law and tradition, the country is itself a secular democracy, with the branch of government which keeps the judicial branch of government entirely separate from the branches which deal with other matters.

It is true that special preference is given to the Jewish religion (Israel is a specifically Jewish state, after all), but this does not mean we should conflate Israeli politics with said religion. It is perhaps as a result of the increasing willingness of the international community to see religion and politics as one and the same when it comes to Israel that is leading more and more Israeli's to push for an entirely secular state, though whether or not that tactic would work (see also: separation of church and state in the U.S.) is debatable, since the damage has already been done.

Simply put, the EDL's actions only show their own bigotry and hatred. And as an aside, their staging of an anti-semitic rally in a predominantly Jewish neighbourhood will only prove to people that the Shomrim is needed.

About the Author

Margaret Banford

Margaret Banford lives in perpetual fear of the mountain of books she lives in collapsing. Someone who love debate, her favourite subjects include philosophy, politics, music and drama When not writing, Margaret spends her time playing the piano and baking cakes that make grown men cry.
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