Holocaust victims rubbish claims about ‘no-go areas for Jews’ in London

A group of Holocaust victims have rubbished pro-Israel activist Gideon Falter’s claims about “no-go” areas for Jews in London, calling them “unhinged.”

The comments by Haim Bresheeth (son of two survivors of Auschwitz), Mark Etkind (son of a survivor of the Lodz ghetto and Buchenwald), Stephen Kapos (survivor of the Holocaust in Budapest), Peter Kapos (son of Holocaust survivor, Stephen Kapos) and Yosefa Loshitzky (daughter of survivors of the Holocaust in Poland) came after the chief executive of the Campaign Against Antisemitism was threatened with arrest when he approached a pro-Palestine demonstration on April 13 in London.

The Holocaust victims say they participated in the pro-Palestine march on that day as “visible Jews” and received “nothing but support and warmth from their fellow demonstrators.”

Falter’s claims about no-go areas for Jews have received widespread media attention and have led to apologies by the Metropolitan Police and calls for the Met chief to resign.

He said that his interactions with police officers “show that the Met believes that being openly Jewish will antagonise the anti-Israel marchers and that Jews need protection, which the police cannot guarantee. Instead of addressing the threat of antisemitic violence, the Met’s policy seems to be that law-abiding Jewish Londoners should not be in the parts of London where these marches are taking place. In other words, that they are no-go zones for Jews.”

The Holocaust victims at a pro Palestine march

But the Holocaust victims said they disagree strongly with Mr. Falter’s claims “because throughout his altercation with the police, we were standing only a few yards away from him, yet we experienced nothing but warmth and solidarity from the pro-Palestine demonstrators and not a hint of antisemitism.”

They added: “Our group was ‘openly Jewish’ in that we all wore placards saying that, as descendants of Holocaust survivors, we oppose the ongoing genocide in Gaza. Indeed, one of us, Stephen Kapos, is a child survivor of the Holocaust who was interviewed by Sky News at the time.

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“Every major pro-Palestine demonstration in London has included a large Jewish bloc which has received nothing but support and warmth from their fellow demonstrators. Claims that these protests are no-go zones for Jews are completely untrue.”

On April 13, an extended stand-off between police and Falter, the chief executive of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, where he was threatened with arrest yards from a pro-Palestinian march was caught on film by Sky News.

In the Sky News footage, the activist insisted he was only trying to cross the road down which the demonstration was passing, but this is disputed by an officer in the new footage, who said Mr Falter had deliberately walked head-on into the crowd and accused him of being “disingenuous” and seeking to “antagonise” the marchers.

Scotland Yard has already apologised twice after a short video clip emerged on social media where Falter was blocked by an officer close to the protest in the Aldwych area of London.

An initial apology by Met assistant commissioner Matt Twist had to be retracted after it suggested the presence of Mr Falter was “provocative,” leading to a rebuke from the Home Office.

Mr Twist has since offered a private meeting to Mr Falter to both apologise personally and “discuss what more the Met can do to ensure Jewish Londoners feel safe.”

London mayor Sadiq Khan will hold an “urgent meeting” with Met Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley on Monday, while Home Secretary James Cleverly and policing minister Chris Philp will also meet him this week.

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