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Disturbing Twists in Case of Israel-Haters Who Wore Images of Paragliders at London Protest

At a London anti-Israel protest barely a week after Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israel – including on paragliders – and raped, mutilated and massacred over a thousand innocent people, two anti-Israel protesters wore stock images of paragliders on their backs and another stuck one to the handle of a placard, in a clear display of support for Hamas and their despicable acts.

They were charged under the Terrorism Act with carrying or displaying an article to arouse reasonable suspicion that they are supporters of banned organization Hamas, which they denied, claiming they were carrying the image of a standard ‘parachute emoji’, and that such flying-related images were common in Palestinian art as symbols of ‘liberation and peace’ long before October 7.

Among those giving evidence to support their contentions were veteran Guardian journalist Victoria Brittain and Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff, the former EU envoy to the “Palestinian Territories” who undertook a paragliding flight from Gaza a few months before October 7, in what looked like a propaganda stunt at the time , but now looks more troubling.

Of course, the defendants were lying. I don’t recall ever seeing such an image in my twenty years of covering this conflict – until October 7. They certainly were not commonly used, if used at all. And, of course, using this image a week after October 7 was sending a clear image that had nothing to do with ‘peace’ and everything to do with murder and mayhem.

Another indication the protesters were lying was the fact the two with the image on their backs had initially claimed someone at the demonstration “who was not known to them” had stuck them there, while the third with the image on the placard handle claimed to have been handed the placard and not paid proper attention to the “blurry image” it displayed.

At any rate, the judge found them guilty, saying he did “not find a reasonable person would interpret the image merely as a symbol of freedom.” But troublingly, he did not punish them, saying he did not believe they were true Hamas supporters and ’emotions’ had ‘run very high’ at the time of their offence.

It turns out, there are a couple of twists to this tale.

Firstly, three weeks ago, the judge liked an anti-Israel LinkedIn post by a barrister who had previously promoted conspiracy theories claiming that Israel allowed the October 7 attack.

He claims he liked the post ‘by mistake.’ Using the same standard he used in finding the women guilty, I don’t think “a reasonable person” would believe he could like the post “by mistake.” At any rate, he is facing calls to be investigated.

The second twist is also a real doozy. One of the protesters, Heba Alhayek, had been granted refugee status in the UK after claiming that her life would be in danger if she returned to Gaza because of her family’s criticism of Hamas. Not only that, but she is a writer whose writing is “rooted in decolonial, queer and indigenous practice.” In other words, she would really be rooted if she lived in Gaza under Hamas. yet here she is, celebrating their atrocities against innocent people.

Here’s hoping both the judge and Alhayek face real legal consequences for their actions.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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