This is a guest post by Tom
I’ve just come home from a relatively courteous exchange of views with an ISM member protesting outside the BBC. I’m just writing to ask a bit of advice from other readers.
Everywhere I seem to be coming across renewed anger against the state of Israel with Gaza as its focus, and every day since the IDF action there’s been a march, a street stall or a vigil locally, a focus for the white-hot sanctimony that only ever appears to get directed at Israelis. I note the Tomb in particular has really been heating up the rhetoric.
What’s the best thing to do in the face of this kind of self-righteous anger, this kind of momentum on the part of the “Anti-Zionists”? Should I be engaging, heckling, counter-leafletting, or is it better to be like the shoppers or the families out for a stroll and just ignore them? Is it adding fuel to the fire to try to argue the toss with them? I very, very rarely find Israelis, or pro-Israeli Jews for that matter, speaking to these people, and when they do they’re sometimes too – well, they feel too strongly, it’s too personal for them to make much impact against the 100 word a minute accusations. At least as far as I’ve seen.
But I’m concerned the way these campaigns seem to dominate the agenda, shouting through the loud-hailer, unchallenged.
A specific question: a SWP or a Palestinian Solidarity street stall – is it worth engaging with or responding to these people?
And more importantly, how can I counter the misinformation and bigotry they try to promulgate among those who just pick up the leaflet, or are in range of the hollering?