Two days after the worst rioting in Tottenham since the 1980s, and the facts of what happened are slowly coming together.
What’s already fairly clear is that not all the rioters were locals; as David Lammy MP noted in the Times: “Many of the people arrested weren’t from Tottenham. The grief of one family must never be hijacked to inflict grief on others.”
Coming after months of social unrest and protests, particularly in the capital, the idea that a peaceful protest could be hijacked by the more anarchic elements in society should come as no surprise.
Nor should the fact that one of the key figures has been pinpointed as Jody McIntyre, a far left protester who rose to prominence in the wake of the student rallies after he alleged that he had been knocked from his wheelchair by a policeman (the incident was investigated and the Met was later cleared of wrongdoing).
It later transpired that McIntyre was no political ingénue, but a venomous anti-Israel campaigner who had made a catalogue of unfounded allegations against the Jewish State on his personal blog.
He labelled Israel schizophrenic and lunatic and spoke of having a casual sandwich break with Hamas terrorists (only he didn’t describe them as terrorists). In the months since, he has been on the platform at Palestine Solidarity Campaign events and continued to rail against Israeli “apartheid”.
Of course, he’s been less vocal on the subject of the rockets fired at Israeli towns, the murder of a three-month-old baby by a Palestinian extremist, or the bomb that went off in Jerusalem earlier this year – killing a British Christian.
He is, of course, a poster boy of the far left, a darling of the socialist world. He even writes for the Independent and occasionally for the Guardian. Regardless of his views on Israel, he has painted himself as a crusader for the oppressed, a fighter for the poor and unrepresented.
So as small businesses and the homes of those who didn’t have a back-up plan were being destroyed, was this bastion of the left condemning the violence and its impact on those who didn’t deserve it?
No, actually on Friday he slammed the lack of accountability in the police in an Indy post about the “violence and provocation” of the force.
And the next day, as the riots broke out, he was advising his more than 9,000 Twitter followers to get involved and add to the pain.
“Be inspired by the scenes in Tottenham, and rise up in your neighbourhood,” he cried. “100 people in every area = the way we can beat the feds.”
I’m sure those people who have had their livelihoods destroyed will be delighted to have been part of the attempt to “beat the feds”.
Hey, my flat’s burnt to the ground, my windows have been smashed, kids terrified. But we’re sticking it to the man, yeh.
Today, as most of us looked in horror at the photographs of destruction on the front pages, McIntyre didn’t show any remorse. “You ask if looting is justified, I ask if the police will ever be held accountable for killing people?”
It’s for the Indy to decide if they want him to continue writing in their name (they stated yesterday that they don’t “condone lawbreaking”).
I doubt the PSC or the rest of Britain’s far left anti-Israel brigade will distance itself. He hates Israel, so that’s enough. It doesn’t matter how unpalatable the rest of his behaviour is.
But isn’t it interesting that someone like McIntyre, a self-proclaimed campaigner for social justice and rights, is only bothered when it suits him.
This post was first published on The Jewish Chronicle website. Read more of my work for The JC here.