Jewish activist told to remove Palestine flag responds 

Counterfire 19 March 2024

Flags on Palestine solidary protest, November 2023Flags on Palestine solidary protest, November 2023. Photo: OwenBlacker / Wikimedia Commons / CC0 1.0 DEED

Last week, police in south London knocked on the door of a Jewish resident, Tamar, and asked her to remove a pro-Palestine sign and flag from the window of her home. She refused and delivered this speech at a rally this weekend in response 

This is not how I planned to start my speech, but I wanted to share something that happened to me. Yesterday, as I was getting ready to have Shabbat dinner with my children, two police officers knocked on my door. They asked me to remove my A4 sign that reads ‘Jews for a Free Palestine’ and the 5”x8” Palestinian flag from the window of my personal house.  

They shared that there had been complaints of people feeling ‘uncomfortable’ by it. I outright refused (and immediately started searching where to buy a bigger flag!). The police, the media and the politicians are so scared of the growing number of people protesting Israel’s genocide that they are now attempting to intimidate and silence us in our own homes. But let us be clear: we will not be silenced!  

We have recently been told that London is now a no-go zone for Jews. After today’s beautiful rally here, we may even be told that Greenwich is a no-go zone for Jews. But that is not true! We Jews feel completely comfortable in London and in Greenwich and at these marches calling for peace! Let us openly spell out what this false rhetoric is actually about. This is not about caring about Jewish safety, when there is a rise of anti-Semitism among the far right. This is part of a bigger political drive to delegitimise the weekly mass demonstrations calling for a ceasefire in Gaza that have filled the streets of London over the past five months.  

The role of these international protests since Israel’s most recent attack on Palestine cannot be misconstrued. These coordinated shows of solidarity have kept Gaza and the suffering of Palestinians on the front pages. We have forced the ICJ to call out Israel’s actions for what they are: genocidal. For the very first time, Westminster has been forced to openly talk about Gaza, despite wishing they could brush their support for Israel under the rug. Unfortunately, these same politicians showed their true Islamophobic colours by turning the question of a ceasefire into a vile Islamophobic tirade, branding protesters as extremists and terrorists.  

With 66% of people in this country wanting an immediate ceasefire, this attempt by the politicians and the media to discredit us as ‘extremists’ and ‘anti-Semitic’ is not working. Millions of people are watching in horror the crimes that Israel is committing in Gaza, the West Bank and in Israel itself. We not only demand a ceasefire now, but we call for the liberation of the Palestinian people from decades of Israeli occupation. From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!’ 

It should be noted that since the police visit to my house to request that I take down my pro-Palestine sign, my neighbours have decided to stand in solidarity and hang very large Palestinian flags from their own homes.