Police are investigating a disturbing video of a gang of yobs said to be screaming ‘Free Palestine’ before spitting at a bus of Jewish teenagers celebrating Hanukkah.
The attack happened on‘s flagship shopping strip Oxford Street on Monday night.
In the video of the incident on, none of the yobs’ insults can be heard because they are outside of the bus.
But on board the vehicle, the terrified occupants can be clearly picked up saying ‘We are all Jewish’.
Community Security Trust (CST), a charity which monitors antisemitic incidents and provides security support to British Jews, said the people on the bus were handing out food in the capital’s famous shopping destination, Oxford Street before they were interrupted by the group.
Dave Rich, CST’s director of policy, said: ‘They were quite frightened that the group who were threatening them were going to physically assault them, they were spitting at them.
‘They were pretty scared and they definitely felt it was because they were Jewish that they’d been targeted, there was absolutely no doubt about that.’
Cllr Rachael Robathan, leader of Westminster City Council, and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan both condemned the social media scenes.
The attack happened on London’s flagship shopping strip Oxford Street on Monday
In the video of the incident on Facebook, none of the yobs’ insults can be heard
It is understood the Met is looking at it as a potential racially-aggravated public order offence
Cllr Robathan said: ‘Deeply disturbing scenes of what appears to be an anti-Semitic attack against Jewish teenagers in Oxford Street.
‘We utterly condemn this scenes and I will be raising this with the Met Police. We stand shoulder to shoulder with our Jewish community.’
Mr Khan said the action of the yobs were completely unacceptable.
He tweeted: ‘Antisemitism has no place whatsoever in society and I utterly condemn these disgusting acts.
‘No one should have to experience this.’
At one point in the video one the yobs takes off one of his shoes and hits it against the side of the transport.
Rabbi Shneor Glitsenstein of the Chabad Israeli Centre Golders Green was on the bus with his group, reports the Jewish Chronicle.
He said the men starting shouting ‘Free Palestine’ at them.
Rabbi Shneor added: This is not something you expect to see in the middle of London. You want to feel free and secure in London.
‘The mission of Israel is to bring light and goodness. We don’t want to let them win by being intimidated.’
He likened it to the ‘hate convoy’ demonstrations that took place in north London in May.
The brazen thugs showed little worry of getting into any trouble with the police
In the video the terror of the passengers can be heard as the yobs hit the side of the bus
Viewers of the video were disgusted by the attack and branded it ‘disgusting behaviour’
The Metropolitan Police said officers were called to Oxford Street at around 8pm on Monday, but met the bus at another location after it moved on to ‘avoid any further confrontation’, police said.
The Met said: ‘The group shown in the video could not be located at the time of the incident and there have been no arrests.
‘The incident is being treated as a hate crime and officers will be assessing the available evidence to identify any possible lines of enquiry.’
The passengers on the bus were from the religious outreach organisation Chabad, which arranges for eight-armed candelabras to be put up around London to mark Hanukkah, Mr Rich said.
‘They had an open-top bus and they’d driven to Oxford Street from north London, but after this happened, they drove home again’, he said, adding that CST is working with the police to support the victims.
Mr Rich said there has been an increase in antisemitic hate crimes in the UK.
‘In the first six months of this year, we had the highest number of antisemitic incidents ever reported to CST in the first six months of any year’, he said.
In a statement, CST said: ‘London is a city where Jewish people must be able to celebrate our festivals and enjoy an open, confident Jewish way of life.
‘This disgusting incident goes against everything this city stands for and should be condemned by all.’
One viewer of the video said: ‘Sorry to read about this..disgusting intolerant scumbags.
‘I hope they are found, arrested and made an example of. Peace.’
Another added: ‘Absolutely disgusting behavior.’
Hanukkah – known as the festival of lights – is an eight-day celebration involving food, prayer and the lighting of a menorah.
It commemorates the Jewish uprising in the second century B.C. against the Greek-Syrian kingdom, which had tried to impose its culture on Jewish people and adorn the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem with statues of Greek gods.
The holiday lasts eight days because according to tradition, when the Jewish people rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem, a single vial of oil, enough for one day, burned miraculously for eight. This year it runs from November 28 until December 6.
For many Jewish people, the holiday symbolizes the triumph of good over evil.
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