Daily Israel Report

Watch: BDS Activists Arrested Trying to Attack Pro-Israel Rally

At least six anti-Israel activists detained by British police in Brighton, as pro-Israel group continues to fight back against boycotters.
By Ari Soffer
First Publish: 5/4/2014, 12:00 PM

SFI activists supporting Eco Stream in Brighton
SFI activists supporting Eco Stream in Brighton
Oren Teichman

At least six anti-Israel protesters were arrested after attempting to disrupt a pro-Israel rally in the English town of Brighton on Saturday.

The arrests came during weekly protests and counter-protests at the Israeli Eco Stream store in the southern town, which supporters of the so-called BDS movement have been calling on people to boycott.

For their latest protest, BDS groups - including the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) - enlisted support from several trade union groups in an attempt to re-energize their campaign, which began to flounder after a concerted effort by locals, led by Sussex Friends of Israel (SFI), to counter their calls for an anti-Israel boycott.

Despite the extra support they were still outnumbered by SFI activists and other supporters of Israel from across the country, and even a handful of foreign pro-Israel activists.

Frustration appeared to get the better of the "BDSers"; in one video, an anti-Israel activist can be seen attempting to physically attack SFI members before being subdued and led away by several police officers, to cheers from the group.

In response to several similar incidents police forced anti-Israel demonstrators onto the other side of the street, separating the two groups.

"We had about 70-90 and the unions possibly 50," claimed SFI co-founder Simon Cobbs. "However the interesting thing was that as soon as the Trade Unions saw we were properly organized and not going to 'roll over' and were filming them, they quickly removed all their Trade Unions' banners!"

The anti-Israel protest fizzled out an hour before its scheduled end at 3 p.m., as SFI's ranks were swelled by supporters from "Switzerland, France, Canterbury, London, Essex and all over Sussex," he said.

"We didn't just take on BDS/PSC and win - we took on the whole Trade Union movement and beat them!"