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Anti Israel protest at Liverpool V Haifa

Emmanuel Goldstein | 10.08.2006 16:34 | Anti-militarism | Liverpool

A group of anti-war protesters made their point at the Liverpool V Maccabi Haifa Champions League match last night. Despite the Liverpool Echo's scaremongering (, the protesters did not attempt to 'ruin' the match, leaving that to Rafael Benitez's unadventurous tactics.

About fifteen activists from Merseyside TUC, Stop The War Coalition and pro-Palestinian groups met at Arkles Lane to protest against Israel's attacks on Lebanon and its policies towards the Palestinians.

A heavy police presence and media intimidation did not prevent the group waving their banners, shouting slogans, and handing out 'red card' leaflets (the text of which can be read here to passing Liverpool supporters as they made their way to the ground.

John Bowman, a member of the Liverpool Friends of Palestine group, said: "We're here not just to protest about the Israeli attacks on Lebanon, but the whole policy of the Israeli government towards the Palestinian people. We thought this was an ideal opportunity to draw attention to the issue, and to the fact that Israel doesn't obey international law in terms of the occupied Palestinian territories."

He added: "The view that sport and politics don't mix is a weak argument. As was shown in South Africa during the apartheid area, where there is injustice taking place, we need to say so by demonstrating outside games such as this."

Jeanette Abendstern of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, said: "There are a growing number of Jewish people who are very disturbed about what is going on, both in Palestine and the Lebanon. I think it's very important for us to protest, both as individuals and Jews, to show that the Israeli government doesn't represent all Jewish people."

The Echo found one Haifa supporter (out of one thousand) who was critical of the protest. Ziv Ben-amar, from Beershvea in southern Israel, said: "I think they have every right to demonstrate, but they also have the obligation to show both sides.

"They talk about Lebanese being killed, but they don't show the Israeli soldiers being kidnapped, which started off the whole crisis, or all the suicide bombings of civilians in Israel. It doesn't open any gate of peace or lead to any better under-standing by not showing both sides."

Of course, being pro-Palestinian doesn't mean you have to be anti ordinary Israeli people. But the soldiers who were 'kidnapped' were actually on Lebanese soil at the time. On the other hand, the democratically-elected Palestinian cabinet were on their own soil when they were 'arrested'. Our gripe should be with Israeli/US/UK empire-building, not the working class of any country.

Emmanuel Goldstein