Rebel News boss Ezra Levant is in London, England, covering the ARC Conference. The “Alliance for Responsible Citizenship” brings together intellectuals, business leaders and government officials and serves as something of a counter to the World Economic Forum.
Today's report, however, is not about the summit of influential figures opposing the agenda of the WEF; instead, it's about the massive pro-Palestinian rally in the city.
“It's hard to tell when you're in the middle of” a protest, Ezra says, “but it wouldn't surprise me if there were 100,000 protesters” as the group meandered by where he stood for some two hours.
While thousands of signs and flags supporting Palestine — and some condemning Israel as a terror state, calling for a violent intifada revolution or implying that Jews were Nazis — were among the crowd, Ezra says he “didn't see a single British flag.”
The danger for an independent journalist covering the rally, Ezra explains, is a lack of police presence. At one point, the crowd became hostile.
As the march passed a McDonald's, that's when things started to become strange. Protesters started calling for a boycott of the fast-food chain, chanting slogans like “Shame on you!” outside the restaurant.
“I didn't quite understand that, has McDonald's taken a foreign policy position? I don't know,” Ezra says. “But people were shaking their fist at the people inside, they were filming some of the kids inside and they were stickering all the windows.”
Yesterday, a different McDonald's in Birmingham, another English city a few hours north of London, saw an activist toss mice painted in the colours of Palestine's flag tossed into the restaurant.
As Ezra explained that the rally was taking place near the Savoy Hotel in London, an area he compares to Broadway or Times Square in New York City for those unfamiliar with London, one of the protesters interrupts.
“They're not chanting for Hamas,” the woman says. “Are you against Hamas?” Ezra asks, before telling her not to grab the microphone.
“You are changing a narrative by creating a reality that didn't take place,” she says, still refusing to condemn the terrorist organization that governs Gaza. The woman then tries to block Rebel News' videographer Lincoln Jay with her Palestine flag, saying she didn't want to be filmed.
“You are the source of the problem, because you are dehumanizing people,” she says, becoming increasingly agitated.
And that's when London's famous police finally showed up — to ask if the Rebel team attempted to grab the woman's flag. “You should be arresting them” the woman exclaims, saying she didn't want to be filmed, despite being in a very public place, at a very public protest, and interjecting herself into the video as it was being recorded.
“But sir, if you could not film her,” one of the officers tells Lincoln, “because she has not given you permission to film.” Since the woman was “clearly distressed” by being filmed, the officer asks Rebel News to “be mindful of her.”
As Ezra explains after the encounter, numerous slogans supporting Hamas' desire to destroy Israel were chanted during the march: from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free; intifada revolution.
“She has no idea what I saw or what I heard,” Ezra says. “She just didn't like the fact that I was reporting on a pro-Hamas protest and calling it that. I asked her if she was against Hamas, and obviously she refused to say so and she had a little bit of a freak out.”
This, Ezra says, is why he did not have the Rebel News logo displayed on his microphone, and recorded that segment of the video near a van full of police.
While this woman was more angry than violent, it was just a sample of what the protest was like.
“I don't think I'd do very well in Gaza, I think I'd be killed pretty quickly,” Ezra remarks. “And apparently there are parts of London where a reporter who calls a pro-Hamas rally a pro-Hamas rally can get pushed around.”