A petition has been launched to stop an anti-Semitic demonstration organised by Somerset resident Joshua Bonehill-Paine in Stamford Hill in March.
The petition produced by Hackney Unites, a community coalition for social justice, calls on Hackney Council and the police to deny permission for what they describe as “a deliberately provocative demonstration designed to promote racial hatred in our multicultural area”.
Two weeks ago, as EastLondonLines reported, the Jewish Haredi community chose to underline their discontent over long-standing community tensions about planning rights in Stamford Hill, by boycotting a Hackney Planning Watch meeting altogether. Today, Hackney stands together.
“Bonehill might achieve what Hackney Council couldn’t”, said Rabbi Pinter in response to the success of the Hackney Unites petition, which launched last Thursday, and has collected over 300 signatures within 24 hours.
Several comments have been left. One of the residents writes: “There is a genuine difference of opinion in the area about planning issues, but this should be settled by reasoned argument and not by anyone trying to stir up racial or religious hatred in the area.”
Another added: “I am a long term resident of Stamford Hill. This is a peaceful, multicultural community, which prides itself on tolerance and mutual understanding. This protest, from someone outside the community with a history of anti-semitic abuse, is not fitting with the ethos and reality of life in Stamford Hill. When community issues do arise thereare various means through which dialogue and participation are used to build solutions, and this protest will only undermine this process.”
A third said: “People who hate, like Bonehill the organiser of this march, have no place in Stamford Hill, Hackney or London.”
Born 60 years ago in the area, Rabbi Pinter feels very much part of the community and was not personally surprised by the sense of solidarity expressed. However he recognised that a part of the Jewish community that was feeling isolated is now appreciating the solidarity of their neighbourhood.
Rabbi Pinter explains: “There have been tensions in the past and Hackney Council has not been able to bring the community together. We can have our differences but we should be ableto discuss and come to an agreement. I’m now confident that through the negative you got a positive. Compromises where everybody’s legitimate needs could now be taken into account. ”
Joshua Bonehill told EastLondonlines that he knows of at least 20 people living within the borough of Hackney who would join his anti-Semitic demonstration.