Why were Jewish Defense League extremists allowed at London Israel rally?

Roberta Moore and Robert de Jonge, wearing black T-shirts with the yellow Jewish Defence League logo, watch over Board of Deputies president Jonathan Arkush.

Matthew Offord, a Conservative lawmaker, and Jonathan Arkush, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, spoke at a small pro-Israel rally in London where members of a Jewish extremist group were present on Sunday.

The member of parliament and Arkush were photographed on Sunday at the same rally as Robert De Jonge, the Jewish Defence League UK activist who was convicted of assault last year after an attack on two participants in a Palestine literary festival in 2014.

Also at the rally was Roberta Moore, another JDL UK figure. She was initially convicted of assault and possession of an offensive weapon, but the conviction was overturned on appeal.

Although currently legal in the UK, the JDL was classified as a terrorist group by the FBI in 2001. The group adheres to the views of Rabbi Meir Kahane, who founded the ultranationalist Kach group outlawed by the Israeli government.

Though De Jonge and Moore did not have an organizational role in the march, the pair positioned themselves at the front of the rally and appeared to go unchallenged.

The Board of Deputies did not reply to a request for comment.

“Stop the Hate”

The “Stop the Hate: Stand with Israel” march was organized by the Zionist Federation, Sussex Friends of Israel and the Israel Advocacy Movement as a counterdemonstration to the annual pro-Palestinian Al-Quds day march.

Moore and de Jonge, in black T-shirts, stand close by as Conservative Friend of Israel Matthew Offord gives a speech.

De Jonge and Moore appear to have stood at the front of a crowd of pro-Israel demonstrators for the duration of a short speech by Conservative lawmaker and Conservative Friends of Israel member Matthew Offord.

They were also present for a 15-minute speech by Hillel Neuer of UN Watch, an anti-Palestinian propaganda organization.

Throughout this time, both De Jonge and Moore were wearing T-shirts bearing the yellow fist symbol associated with the JDL. At least three others were photographed wearing the same T-shirt.

Arkush (wearing tan blazer at far right) in proximity to more activists wearing the logo of the Jewish Defence League.

Moore can clearly be seen wearing the JDL T-shirt on at 11:10 in the video of Neuer’s speech, standing directly to his left.

During his speech, Offord approvingly noted the presence of Labour Friends of Israel’s Michael McCann, a former MP who now heads a body called Israel-Britain Alliance.

Roberta Moore listens to UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer speak.

In the early part of the video of Offord’s speech, Jonathan Arkush, the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, appears to be directly in De Jonge and Moore’s line of vision. It is not clear whether Arkush saw them.

Support for Breivik

An armed Roberta Moore visiting extremist Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron.

Meir Kahane, a former Israeli parliamentarian and the founder of Kach, the Israeli affiliate of the JDL, proposed the forced expulsion of all Palestinians from all of historic Palestine, including the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The JDL UK website dubs Kahane’s master bomb maker Victor Vancier a “Jewish hero.”

Vancier heads the Jewish Task Force, another small, extremist Zionist group which De Jonge supports, and was convicted of waging a bombing campaign in New York and Washington DC in the 1980s. Chosen by Kahane to lead the JDL in New York in 1984, and later made East Coast boss, Vancier, also known as Chaim ben Pesach, spent five and a half years in federal prison.

De Jonge, who also uses the aliases Robert Bartholomeus and Robert Bartholomew, was convicted of assault and sentenced in March last year.

Moore, born in Brazil, previously founded the “Jewish division” of the anti-Muslim street movement the English Defence League before leaving the group in 2011. In 2012, she expressed support for Anders Behring Breivik who killed 77 people in Norway the previous July.




It should be noted that even the rightest Israeli government has
outlawed Kach, the production of Meir Kahane's JDL. Why is
a conservative associating with a JDL-inspired group?

(In fact, Israel itself should be illegal and is a "terrorist group"
but not officially.)

It has the feel of an American politician appearing with and in
support of the KKK and similar racist groups.

---Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

Hilary Aked

Hilary Aked's picture

Hilary Aked (@hilary_aked) is a London-based freelance writer and researcher, an NCTJ-qualified journalist and a PhD student at the University of Bath researching the pro-Israel lobby in the UK. They also write for Spinwatch, Ceasefire, OpenDemocracy and Huffington Post.