Holocaust survivors on the pro-Palestine march

Coming two days after the multi-billion dollar US military aid package, primarily to Ukraine and Israel, yesterday the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reported that world military spending was $2.4 trillion in 2023, the highest on record; and the biggest spender of all was the USA at just under $1 trillion. This is double the total for the next three big spenders, China, Russia and India.

So where were the headlines in the UK media? You would have to look hard to find them. The top story yesterday concerned Saturday 13th April’s massive march for Palestine in Central London — except that the march was barely mentioned. Instead, the media could not get enough of Gideon Falter, CEO of the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) and a Zionist provocateur. We are asked to believe that when he left the synagogue he accidentally stumbled across the demonstration, and when he tried to cross the road he was prevented by a police officer because he was “openly Jewish” and was threatened with arrest.

Falter survived this mishap because he was fortuitously accompanied by an entourage that included his bodyguard and a film cameraman. The original story that broke on Saturday was that he was just a Jewish man who was prevented from crossing the road by police who were allowing another pro-Palestinian march that made London a no-go area for Jews.

So, who is Falter? Last November he organised the march against antisemitism in London. Around 100,000 Zionists turned up. Falter told the Jewish Chronicle, for which he writes regularly, ““You could get the impression that the country has changed, that it’s forgotten what it is to be tolerant, decent, mild-mannered, and instead it’s become this place where extremism, Islamism, far-leftism runs amok and you get people dressed up as Hamas suicide bombers, or people walking down the streets with signs that wouldn’t have been out of place in 1930s Germany.” Falter seems not to have noticed that on a regular basis since Israel began its ‘plausible’ genocide against Gaza over 200,000 Muslims, leftists and Jews have marched through London. Tolerant, decent, mild mannered marchers demanding peace in the Middle East and the only arrests have been people who oppose the march.

Falter has a long history. In 2021 he wrote an article in which he celebrated the part the CAA had played in having sociologist David Miller sacked from his post for, “brazen antisemitism”. In February an Employment Appeals Tribunal found that the University had acted unlawfully and Miller was reinstated. In 2009 Falter gave evidence against Rowan Laxton, a senior Foreign Office official who was alleged to have referred to “fucking Jews” in a gymnasium in Westminster. The official was found guilty, fined, and lost his job. A year later, two appeal court judges agreed that he had never said those words and found him not guilty. He got his job back.

Falter became head of the CAA, an organisation with an appalling record of anti-Palestinian racism and Islamophobia. In 2015, it was criticised by the All Party Parliamentary Enquiry into Antisemitism for conflating opposition to Israel with antisemitism, something it continued to do with its campaign to label Corbyn as an antisemite. The CAA has been funded in the past by the Jewish National Fund (JNF-UK) to the tune of $450,000 in 2018 and 2019 at the height of its campaign against Jeremy Corbyn. JNF-UK raises money to support Israeli settlers on Palestinian land in Israel and the Occupied Territories. It is no surprise that Falter is also a director and vice chair of JNF-UK.

Despite all this, he is still being interviewed and writing articles for the media, pushing his campaign against the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Mark Rowley, and London Mayor, Sadiq Khan. Journalists know Falter’s back story but choose to ignore it, just as they ignore the message of the regular and massive peace marches and the polls calling for a ceasefire now. They do so because it does not meet their news agenda. Rather than holding the government to account for their active support of Israel’s war crimes, almost without exception, the media act as cheerleaders for an establishment that has decided supporting Israel is in their interests, even if it means the destruction of 2 million Palestinians.

For a more detailed account of Falter’s actions and the media response, Jonathan Cook is excellent.

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