Steve Hedley is the London Transport Regional Organiser of the National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers (“RMT”).
Yesterday, the RMT “initiated” a rally in support of “Boycott Divestiture and Sanctions” at SOAS. That rally was “supported” by SOAS Unison and UCU.
At that rally Steve Hedley explained that his support for boycotting Israel was motivated by his own anti-fascism, opposition to antisemitism, and concern for the “Israeli people”:
“If the Israeli people are going to tolerate the oppression of the Palestinian people, they will never be free themselves. And I’m an anti-fascist. I’ve been an anti-fascist since the early teens. I’ve got absolutely nothing against Israelis at all; nothing against Jewish people. It’s a clear line to draw because people have been throwing around labels ‘oh, you’re anti-Semitic’… and that’s not the case.”
Richard Millett recorded what followed: a pretty horrendous and eye opening rant, which concluded with an unequivocally racist attack on a Jewish audience member.
You can hear it here. Here are the highlights:
“We oppose the Israeli government because we oppose the racist policies that they’re carrying out on the Palestinian people. And you can cover it up for so long with your friends in the media, with the attack on the Mavi Marmara, and the attack on the innocent women and children who you who you starved and turned into the biggest concentration camp on the earth [applause].
And this is the reality of it!
You’re an absolute disgrace to the Jewish people!
You are a modern-day fascist!
A modern-day Nazi!
… No wonder the EDL are flying the flag of Israel!”
After this extraordinary tirade had finished, Richard Millett asked Steve Hedley if he felt better, to which he replied:
“Better than you, obviously. But then again you’re one of the Chosen People so you might feel better than me, huh?”
Thereafter, this is what happened:
It wasn’t long after this that I felt a tug on my shirt collar and heard the words “You’ve got a right hook coming to you” menacingly whispered into my ear.
Frankly, the racist language and the threat of violence makes this a clear racially aggravated assault. I think that the police should investigate, don’t you?
Mocking, threatening Jews as “The Chosen People” seems to be all the rage these days, doesn’t it?
Here’s Bob Crow, speaking as a Trade Union supporter of Searchlight/Hope Not Hate:
Searchlight has long played a crucial role in exposing the true nature of racism and fascism and the activities of the BNP and other far-right groups. It is important that union branches affiliate and give it all the practical help and assistance they can.
So, a response from the RMT and Hope not Hate would be appropriate, too. Not to mention SOAS, Unison and UCU.