BDS demonstration (illustrative)
BDS demonstration (illustrative)Stefanie Loos, Reuters

Dozens of radical left-wing demonstrators attempted to disrupt a lecture by Regavim’s international spokesperson at an event hosted in London Sunday night by UKLFI Charitable Trust. The London Metropolitan Police secured the event, and kept the demonstrators from disrupting the evening’s program.

Naomi Kahn, Director of Regavim’s International Division, delivered a presentation that detailed the extent and effects of European Union support for illegal Palestinian Authority-orchestrated activities in Judea and Samaria.

The event, originally scheduled for early September, had been postponed due to security concerns: A number of BDS and other anti-Israel groups threatened to hold mass protests against Regavim and the UKLFI hosts, and the possibility of violence led to postponement of the event in order to allow appropriate security measures to be put in place.

Apparently, those concerns were well-founded. Sunday night’s event, attended by dozens of Israel supporters, lawyers, and influential members of the London Jewish and non-Jewish community, was similarly targeted by various anti-Israel groups, and the London Police had a busy evening securing the venue and ensuring that the protests remained peaceful and the event uninterrupted.

Kahn’s presentation began with a brief overview of Regavim’s mission and methods, followed by a survey of the legal issues impacting Israel’s current situation in general and Israel’s legal rights in Judea and Samaria in particular, placing special emphasis on the issues of land use policy and protection of national resources under the law.

The bulk of Kahn’s presentation was dedicated to sharing Regavim’s findings regarding international support for illegal activity in these areas, particularly on the part of the European Union and the British government.

The protesters who gathered outside the lecture hall carried placards condemning Israel, the “occupation,” and the Regavim Movement, and began their hours-long demonstration peacefully, singing songs and even reciting the mourners’ prayer (kaddish) for Gaza victims of what they called “Israeli war crimes.” As attendees began to make their way toward the lecture hall, the protests became louder and more threatening, and the police were forced to bar protesters from entering the hall. The protestors then began to use megaphones and sirens in an attempt to drown out the voices of the speakers inside, and the tone quickly became far more threatening as protesters shouted pro-BDS slogans, and condemned, by name, the organizers of the event.

The organizations who participated in the protest included some of the most radical anti-Israel groups currently active in London: The Palestine Solidarity Campaign, “Stop the Demolitions,” The International Solidarity Movement (Ramallah), as well as the newly-formed, purportedly “pro-Israel” Na’amod (British Jews Against Occupation).

Regavim’s Naomi Kahn summed up the evening’s events: “This demonstration by BDS activists is a display of unadulterated hatred for the State of Israel. While it may be 'understandable' for Muslim and Palestinian organizations to stage protests of this kind, it is truly sad to see that well-meaning Jewish activists and organizations are so grossly misinformed that they can be won over by the spurious, antisemitic claims of the BDS movement.”

Meir Deutsch, Director General of Regavim, added: “The truth is stronger than all the lies spread by BDS organizations who hide behind mantras of peace and dialogue but are unwilling to allow opposing opinions to be heard. Regavim will continue to present facts, and to protect the State of Israel with truth – even when antisemitic organizations take to the streets to fight us.”