LONDON – An anti-Israel activist has this week been found guilty of assaulting a
Jewish man at a London supermarket protest calling for a ban of Israeli
Last August, Carole Swords, chairwoman of the Respect Party in
the East London borough of Tower Hamlets, attacked counter-protester Harvey
Garfield after he allegedly stood in the way of her damaging Israeli goods at a
Tesco supermarket in central London.
Garfield claimed that he was at the
store to defend Israeli products from potential vandalism by
“On the day, I heard about the supermarket protest and went
along in order to inform the store and help identify the activists,” he
Swords was found guilty on a public order offense and was given a
conditional discharge by the City of London Magistrate’s Court after she
assaulted Garfield, knocking his glasses off.
She was ordered to pay £250
costs, and she offered to pay £1 a week because she is receiving state
According to the Respect Party, Swords will be “vigorously”
appealing the charge.
“It would be inappropriate for the Respect Party to
make any comment at this time as we understand the verdict and sentence are
being vigorously appealed and the case therefore remains sub judice,” Rob
Hoveman, a spokesman for Respect, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
court, Swords accused Garfield of harassment but the court reviewed CCTV footage
from the supermarket which revealed that Swords had used “threatening and
abusive behavior to cause harassment.”
The incident occurred after a
protest by anti-Israel activists at an Ahava store in Covent Garden, central
Garfield was part of a group of counter-demonstrators targeting
Garfield said that Swords had approached the staff at the
grocery store and demanded to know why it stocked Israeli products. She was told
to address any complaints to Tesco’s head office. At that point she left the
store but then returned, and after seeing Garfield, she swore at him and
“As I turned to follow she stopped and said don’t you f--
-ing follow me. Before I had a chance to answer she struck me in the face
causing my glasses to fall off,” Garfield said.
He said he then found a
police officer who arrested her, and she spent 10 hours in custody.
court, Garfield was labeled a vigilante by Sword’s lawyer.
“I said a
vigilante was a person who took the law into his own hands whereas I was
responding as a responsible member of the public who acted to prevent a
potential act of criminal damage,” he said.
He was accused of punching
Swords, spitting in her face and calling her a Nazi and Palestinian
“I was asked if I had suggested that she was a supporter of
terrorism to which I said no but that I had photo of her in Gaza standing behind
Hamas [leader Mahmoud] Zahar stating that Hamas is a proscribed terrorist
organization by her majesty’s government,” Garfield said.
Swords is also
an organizer of the Viva Palestina group set up by former MP and anti- Israel
activist George Galloway.
In 2010, she took part in a convoy Gaza where
she met with Hamas leaders.
According to the popular London-based blog
Harry’s Place, Swords recently linked to a video of a Holocaust denier who
states in the clip that Christian support for Israel shows that there is no
longer any Christianity, only “Holocaustianity.” Previously Swords had written
on Facebook that Zionists are “cockroaches” who “hide in the dark and try to
create havoc where they lay their eggs.”
“And like a cockroach they are
slim vile hard skin bugs and need to be stomped out,” she maintained.
also claimed on another entry that Israel is in control of the US and, according
to Harry’s Place, has linked to stories by Louis Farrakhan and a David Duke
The blog has also shown that Swords liked a “Free Mohammed
Hamid” page on Facebook. Hamid, according to Harry’s Place, is a recruiter of
terrorists in the UK.
Last July she told a Jewish counter demonstrator at
another anti-Israel protest at the Ahava store that he should “go back to