On Saturday 14 May, Victory to the Intifada (VTI) led a rolling BDS picket on Oxford Street, London, to commemorate al Nakba, ‘the catastrophe’ that began in 1948 when Zionist terror groups massacred and expelled Palestinians from their land with the backing of British imperialism.
The occasion took on added significance because of recent attempts by Israel and the British ruling class to criminalise the BDS movement, that has seen the few critics of Israel in the Labour party purged in a transparent ploy to conflate anti-semitism with anti-Zionism.
To speak out against this, the Revolutionary Communist Group was determined to show that the BDS movement has no reason to be intimidated, stressing that Zionism is a racist ideology and that we will not be silenced on the genocide perpetrated by the state of Israel with the backing of its imperialist sponsors in Britain.
The rolling picket continued its tradition of targeting Marks & Spencer, recently revealed to be buying all their dates from Israel (thejc.com, September 2015) and continuing to purchase goods from the revived Israeli export firm Carmel Agrexco. Speakers on VTI the open mic exposed the public to the company’s record of support for Israel’s barbaric regime and the specifics of the relationship between the two.
A small group of Zionists staged a counter-demonstration but their outright racism only served to attract more support for the rolling picket as the day progressed. After 90 minutes the contingent made its way down Oxford Street, stopping to highlight the other businesses who stock brands on the BDS list, such as Boots, Vodafone and Carphone Warehouse. In a loud and disciplined rolling demonstration around 60 people ended up supporting the contingent as it made it way to a second M&S store, concluding with chants, speeches and music.
Afterwards, RCG activists stayed to support the action protesting the treatment of Topshop workers outside the company’s Oxford Street store, which went on to block the roads all the way up to John Lewis.