Anti-Israel activist convicted for attacking Jewish man

Activist found guilty of assaulting Jewish man at a London supermarket protest is plans to vigorously appeal the conviction.

By JONNY PAUL, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
February 4, 2012 20:47
3 minute read.
george galloway 248 88

george galloway 248 88. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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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 produce.

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.

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Garfield claimed that he was at the store to defend Israeli products from potential vandalism by protesters.

“On the day, I heard about the supermarket protest and went along in order to inform the store and help identify the activists,” he said.

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 benefits.

According to the Respect Party, Swords will be “vigorously” appealing the charge.

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“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.

In 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 London.

Garfield was part of a group of counter-demonstrators targeting Israeli goods.

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 assaulted him.

“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.

In 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 terrorist.

“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.

She 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 supporter.

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 Russia.”

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