British Transport Police investigating incident where tube passenger threatens antisemitism marchers he calls 'donkeys and retards'

Tuesday 23 November 2023

The British Transport Police are investigating the incident where protesters who marched against antisemitism in London on Sunday were subjected to insults from a fellow tube passenger who referred to them as "donkeys" and "retards".

Posting on X, the transport police said: "We appreciate being tagged in this matter. Senior detectives are currently investigating this incident.

"If anyone witnessed this incident or has any information, please contact us by calling 0800 40 50 40 or texting 61016, quoting 2300140881."

Detectives released this image following the racially aggravated altercation on board a Thameslink service from West Hampstead to Mill Hill Broadway yesterday, 26 November. 

Officers are looking to speak anyone who may be able to help us identify him is asked to contact British Transport Police by texting 61016 or by calling 0800 40 50 40, quoting reference 528 of 26 November 2023. You can also submit information anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. 

In a video clip posted to social media, the man asks a passenger if he is "an Israel supporter" before warning him: "On the Holy Qur'an, I will actually smack you across your head. You're a bunch of Israel supporters all of you."

He gestures to someone off camera and says: "Look at this clown here. Biggest clown here. Why have you got that flag on you? With all your stupid little posters.

"There are a lot of donkeys here, look. Absolute donkeys, absolute retards."

Coming up close to the camera, he says: "I'm sorry you're a bunch of killers right now, a bunch of child molesters, all of you, everyone here."

After he shouts "Free Palestine" at the end of the shot, he seems to lose balance and then turns on the person off camera behind him.

The footage ends as off camera a fight seems to break out between the man featured in the recording and the person who may have pushed him off balance.

Broadcaster Josh Rom posted the video and said: "The day the biggest march against antisemitism we have ever seen in London, a vile antisemite stars sprouting hatred on the tube. This is why we marched on the streets today."

It comes after tens of thousands of people marched against antisemitism, including Boris Johnson, security minister Tom Tugendhat, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Rachel Riley, Eddie Marsan and Robert Rinder.

Organised by the charity Campaign Against Antisemitism, the rally was the largest gathering against antisemitism London had seen since the Battle of Cable Street in 1936, when hundreds of thousands of people blocked a planned march by Sir Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists through an area populated by many Jewish families.

Those who addressed the marchers included Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis and immigration minister Robert Jenrick, as organisers claimed the pro-Palestinian rallies in recent weeks had made the capital a “no-go zone for Jews”.

Sir Ephraim told the crowd: “Since October 7 we have witnessed here in the UK an alarming rise of antisemitism, but we will not be intimidated.

Tens of thousands marched against antisemitism in London

The rally was the largest gathering against antisemitism London had seen since the Battle of Cable Street

Protestors were demanding a permanent ceasefire in Gaza

“We call for a strengthening of community cohesion and we will forever be proud to champion the finest of British values.

“So with regard to the poisonous spread of antisemitism, what should the response of the British people be?

“Number one, call it out when you see it. Number two, call it by what it really is – Jew hatred.

“Number three, be vigilant and report every incident. Number four, we must arrest every single perpetrator and bring every single one of them to justice.”

The start of Sunday’s march saw Tommy Robinson arrested by police after he tried to join marchers.

Tommy Robinson was arrested by police after he tried to join marchers

Tommy Robinson in the back of the police van

TalkTV's Julia Hartley-Brewer expressed her frustration that reports of the march on Sunday were dominated by discussion on Mr Robinson.

She said: "Whenever he appears, it's always about him.

"The reports yesterday about this wonderful march all had, at least half of it, about Tommy Robinson!"

Commentator Sam Armstrong responded to Julia: “I’m uncomfortable that his mere presence was considered sufficient by the police to amount to a public order offence.”

Gideon Falter, chief executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “Demonstrations marched through our cities, marched through our capital, where people glorify terrorism, where people incite racism against Jews.

“And indeed, as we saw yesterday, yet again, carrying placards showing a Star of David thrown in the bin with a caption that says ‘please keep the world clean’, messaging that would not have been out of place in 1930s Germany, it is appalling.”

Organisers Stop the War coalition said those at the now-regular marches have “clear anti-racist foundations” and oppose both antisemitism and Islamophobia.

It had asked anyone attending Saturday’s rally to “respect these clear anti-racist principles, including in any signs or placards they choose to bring to the march”.

Mr Johnson compared antisemitism with “an old spore of a virus”.

Tens of thousands of people gathered on Saturday for the latest demonstration, demanding a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, with some demonstrators accusing Israel of committing genocide and others chanting “from the river to the sea”.

There were 18 arrests over the course of the day for a range of alleged offences, including suspicion of inciting racial hatred and suspicion of supporting a proscribed organisation.

It comes as the Israeli military said that 14 Israelis and three foreign nationals have been released from captivity in Gaza, on the third day of a four-day truce.