Sunday, 13 September 2009

The English Defence League's orchestrated attack on Palestinian rights

Today, according to their website, the English Defence League (EDL) is planning to "demonstrate" on the back of their announcement that "Hezbollah, a Muslim Terrorist Organisation's [sic] supporters are due to march through London this coming Sunday." The leadership "urge everybody who can to come to London to oppose this."

Their football hooligan wing, Casuals United, in a slightly contradictory statement, announces that "Hizb al Tahir [sic] are marching in Central London on Sunday 13th September." They echo the call to "peacefully protest this march" as well as anticipating a "major PR victory" when "the UAF Communists/Anarchists" "come out in support of those who call for 9/11 s[t]yle [sic] attacks on us."

As ever, the rhetoric of the EDL and Casuals United is largely out of step with reality. In fact, the march that they are opposing has been advertised since the 1st September on the Gaza Solidarity blog. It is, in reality, an "Annual March and Rally in support of the Palestinians and all oppressed peoples of the World" aimed at highlighting the plight of the oppressed people in Palestine.

I have described the crimes visited upon the Palestinian people by the Israeli government and Israeli Defence Force (IDF) in several past articles, and so there is no need to go into them again here. Suffice to say, however, that there is no automatic link between solidarity with the Palestinians and support for terrorism. This is a myth conjured up by apologists for the Israeli government, albeit one that some groups unwittingly perpetuate with their poor choice of banners.

Hence, opposition to the protest by the EDL and Casuals United only presents a "PR victory" under the bizarre rationale of the far-right, which deems any and all Muslim opposition to the policies of non-Muslim governments to be "support for terror." These thugs have now demonstrated, quite amply, that as well as being violent racists they are utterly ignorant of global politics or the situations stemming directly from Western policies, that beleaguer the Middle East and, fuel the extremism they claim to hate so much.

On Thursday, secretary of state for communities and local government John Denham pointed out "parallels between the EDL and the British Union of Fascists under Oswald Moseley. "You could go back to the 1930s if you wanted to – Cable Street and all of those types of things. The tactic of trying to provoke a response in the hope of causing wider violence and mayhem is long established on the far-right and among extremist groups." Certainly, the EDL do seem intent on stirring up racial tensions in much the same way as the Blackshirts, albeit with Arabs and asians as their scapegoats rather than Jews.

This is no longer merely a cause for anti-fascists. Any and all anarchists, socialists, and activists who work against the brutal oppression suffered by the people of Palestine must now rally to the cause. Most importantly, those who are in or able to get to London must come out in support of this march for Palestinian rights and ensure that fascist violence is met with physical resistance.

If the EDL are looking to be the next BUF, then we need to ensure that they face their own Battle of Cable Street.