When news emerged last week of a neo-Nazi rally planned for Golders Green on 4 July, protests took the form of a petition to the Home Office, which yesterday gained its 10,000th signature.
Police are powerless to act against this static demonstration. So, given the facts on the ground, it seems increasingly likely that it will go ahead. The community needs to deal with this. But how?
Sending an angry petition to the Home Office to ban the demonstration is a perfectly fair way to mobilise the community.
But, given the fact that this vile event is going to be difficult to stop, as a community both a Jewish community and the wider north London community we need to consider how we handle this sinister threat on our doorstep.
I’ve encountered a lack of will among many to attend any kind of counter protest on the day for a number of reasons.
Significantly, many feel any potential protest against the rally would require standing shoulder to shoulder with organisations they fundamentally disagree with.
A number of individuals have expressed opposition to Unite Against Fascism, who some consider to be anti-Israel. Another outlined they would be uncomfortable joining a counter-demonstration associated with Jewdas, the left-wing alternative Jewish movement.
Ultimately, there is a broad consensus that any counter demonstration against neo-Nazis would involve aligning with anti-Fascist movements. These groups can take a tough line on Israel, thus members of the community are deterred from getting involved.
It is also the case that this demonstration has been planned for Shabbat, on July 4, so anyone traditional or religious wouldn’t attend anyway.
This demonstration looks like it will go ahead. But it also looks like the Jewish community is only willing to confront it with words not deeds.
It is all very well getting 10,000 people to sign a petition, but how many of these individuals would be willing to stand on the street and declare: ‘You shall not pass’?
The petition can be found here: Ban the planned Neo Nazi Rally on July 4, 2015 in Golders Green, London