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Young Jew Sings Protest to Chief Rabbi, Gets Arrested

Dovid | 11.01.2009 20:27 | Anti-militarism | Palestine | World

LONDON - A young Jewish man was arrested today after singing at the Chief Rabbi of GB, Jonathan Sacks, during his speech at today's End Hamas Terror (pro-Israel) rally.

Dovid Von Neumann stood up on the ridge of a Trafalgar Square fountain and sung the well known child's Chanukah song 'Sevivon sov sov sov.' [Spinning-top, spin spin spin] He was pushed into the iced fountain by members of the demonstration and was wrestled into police custody by special Jewish security guards.

Whilst the ongoing Israeli bombing of Gaza began during the festival of Chanukah, Jewish children around the world received the traditional gift of a four sided spinning-top (sevivon in Hebrew, driedel in Yiddish). Jewish children play a betting game on whichever side the sevivon should land on. Today these are mostly made from plastic; once upon a time they were cast in lead - hence Operation Cast Lead, the name given by Israel to its current Gaza incursion.

Dovid explains:

"I wished to highlight the insidiousness of how the current Israeli invasion into Gaza was named after a child's toy made from a highly toxic material, lead, and how Palestinian children have been at the mercy of such randomly falling deathly devices. Houndreds of children in Gaza have been killed by indirect attack, like flying shrapnel or inadequate medical resources, whilst many have died through direct attack. It's as if Israel had the lead sevivon in mind as a metaphorical present to Palestinian children."

Through his red megaphone, Dovid also accused Rabbi Sacks of being unrepresentative of the Jewish community in his claims that British Jews supported Israel's current military action.

As he was being grabbed by a Jewish security guard inside the semi-frozen Trafalgar Square fountain, Dovid was seen kissing the guard on each cheek, a traditional way of greeting another Jew. Nevertheless the guard snapped his megaphone in half and pulled him to the crowd, who assisted to drag him to the pavement. Dovid was screaming "Ani gam Yehudi! "[I'm also Jewish] but he was nevertheless handcuffed and carried away by Police. The on looking crowd, mostly Jewish and Hebrew speaking, was left quite shocked.

Dovid, 25, was held for a number of hours by Metropolitan Police until the day's other demonstrations were over. He was released without charge.



"The enemy within"

13.01.2009 00:56

Counter-protest, Trafalgar Square, 11 Jan 09 - Picture 1
Counter-protest, Trafalgar Square, 11 Jan 09 - Picture 1

Counter-protest, Trafalgar Square, 11 Jan 09 - Picture 2
Counter-protest, Trafalgar Square, 11 Jan 09 - Picture 2

Counter-protest, Trafalgar Square, 11 Jan 09 - Picture 3
Counter-protest, Trafalgar Square, 11 Jan 09 - Picture 3

Counter-protest, Trafalgar Square, 11 Jan 09 - Picture 4
Counter-protest, Trafalgar Square, 11 Jan 09 - Picture 4

Counter-protest, Trafalgar Square, 11 Jan 09 - Picture 5
Counter-protest, Trafalgar Square, 11 Jan 09 - Picture 5

At the end of the demonstration, some members of the dispersing pro-Israeli crowd shouted abuse at Jewish counter-demonstrators, calling them “the enemy within”.



Hide the following 15 comments

Bravo Dovid!!!

11.01.2009 21:30

Well done, Dovid! I salute your courage. You are correct in your analysis - many Jewish people in the UK and USA are appalled by Israel's actions. Good on you, and rock on!

Suhayl Saadi
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Great idea..

11.01.2009 21:38

..lets hope this changes some people's minds..


very brave action and typically thuggish response

11.01.2009 21:55

I hope Dovid sues the thugs for their potentially dangerous assault on him. Being plunged into icy water is risky and can bring on an instant heart attack. And I hope he sues the police for unlawful arrest. What were they thinking of - automatically arresting him rather than the thugs who pushed him just because those brown shirts ordered them too? Did they think they were operating in the Gaza strip? If the above description is true then he was commiting absolutely no offense.

I overslept massively having been kettled until late night yesterday, did anyone on the side of decency, justice and compassion turn up for this? When I arrived (three hours late!) I at least expected to see the fountains dyed red and paint splashed everywhere?


nice work

11.01.2009 23:38

i have an israeli friend who was also deeply saddened at the bastardisation of the jewish children's hannukah associations with cast lead - particularly considering the indiscriminate killing of children as part of the operation.

nice work dovid - it takes bravery to stand up as a jewish person within a demonstration publicly sanctioning the actions of the state of israel. i hope this inspires others to do the same..... regardless of "nation" or ethnicity - but to speak out against the nonsense that is spoken "for us" within the multiple identities we all carry.


What´s the official name for the operation "cast lead"

12.01.2009 10:58

If it is not "Cast Lead" but "leaden dreidel" instead what´s the official name an meaning in Hebrew?


Solidarity with Dovid

12.01.2009 11:06

I think more Jewish people in the UK should be doing this and it was great to see so many Jewish people on the demo on Saturday.

Anarchist Solidarity

response and addition

12.01.2009 12:19

I really appreciate everyone's warm comments and solidarity.

There was one thing I found quite inspiring during the whole action. As I was being wrestled off the fountain by security guards and middle aged people in the crowd, I overheard a totally shocked young lad shouting persistently "dad, what are you doing??" His father was one of the more aggressive ones and didn't respond to his son (he was too busy trying to grab me).

Within the Jewish community of Britain there's a very strong spirit of conformity - conformity or exclusion, I'd suggest - which is why i felt like using a specifically Jewish cultural reference was a way of eating at that conformity, not allowing it to be excluded and othered. I hope for at least that father and son, there'll be some serious animosity because of yesterday... and a big fat argument ideally!

I shamefully neglected to write about the counter demonstration of the day, which I didn't get involved in so that I could blend in with the Israel demo. Although from where I stood the counter demo was not visible, it was very audible. It really put the pro-Israel rally inside its context: yes Israeli military supporters might be able to gather in the same spot in their thousands in London, but outside of that (and also within) they are opposed. The speakers who made any comments outside of their written speeches commented on the noise outside, obviously in condemnation but still. Well done to everyone on that march, it was well worth doing.

I also share viral's friends' sadness at how such an innocent childrens toy, the sevivon, could have been given such an appalling new meaning. It's like having some of your fondest early experiences stolen from you. Obviously though, that feeling isn't as bad as being at the receiving end of this disgusting operation, this disgusting occupation. It's sad to see innocence stripped, but worse to see innocent lives stripped.

If anyone's interested in more Jewish counterculture from the UK then I'd recommend visiting They've been a bit slow to post anything about the current Gaza crisis but I recon they've got something pretty big up their sleeves... Also see and

My action was inspired by an article on Electronic Intifada by Yosefa Loshitzky regarding the naming of the operation and other related issues, if anyone's interested:

There's a Yiddish saying: As long as that tiny candle burns, things can be put right.
And there's definitely more than a tiny candle burning right now.

Keep going everyone.


youtube video

12.01.2009 12:46

And here it is on youtube, 6:30 in.

Not the greatest of camerawork and I guess it's not that easy to hear what I was saying but I guess it's a lot more ironic than i remembered it. "Yes to peace! Yes to peace!" the crowd chants and then they throw big chunks of Ice at me, all while the Rabbi masturbates over the word shalom.


Top work

12.01.2009 14:19

Well done Dovid. Your a very brave and honest man!

Dovid supporter

Mazel tov to Dovid

13.01.2009 12:18

I just wanted to say mazel tov to Dovid for his actions. There are plenty of Jews who support him.

Nice bit of irony that people who were waving about the traditional Jewish emblem of the Mogen Dovid (Shield of David) chose to attack Dovid for his peaceful protest at their "demonstration for peace".

No self hater
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In praise and support of David's action - Trafalgar Sq

13.01.2009 17:57

Bravo David. I say this as a Jew (I know, I know, the usual criticisms, why do people have to say ... and other disindenuous slurs). That took real courage, chaver, and I salute you.

Member, ICAHD UK; Signatory JfJfP Statement; supporter BRICUP and JBIG
Recently on Clinicians' Tour of W Bank (they wouldn't let us into Gaza) and Israel to assess effect of occupation on health of Palestinians. (By the way, I found much concern about the psychological effects of the occupation on Israeli society itself.)

Dr Brian Robinson
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Well done Dovid - sorry I couldn't be there!

13.01.2009 22:35

As someone who is also Jewish (& we should never be intimidated into pretending we're not by Zionists or anti-Semites) I congratulate Dovid.

I would have been with the counter-demonstration but we had a magnificent demonstration on Gaza in Brighton, with over 1,500 demonstrators - the 2nd largest demo I can recall in over 30 years living here.

It took real bravery and courage to do what you did. And yes, you must sue these bastards and sue the CST as well.

We must start raising the question of this Community Security Trust - who are nothing but Israeli ex-military in the main, thugs and overtly Zionist. We should embarrass the Metropolitan Police into dropping their co-operation and work with them. They are not neutral they are merely Israeli Embassy bovver boys.

I've looked at the accounts of the CST and they reveal virtually nothing other than they are loaded. On the Charity Commission site their trustees are allowed to hide their identities, whereas people like me get prominently displayed on the Redwatch site.

Good photos which I'll repost on my blog later.

Well done again. Jewish people should stand up and say that what Israel does is not in our name but on behalf of Bush and the oil men.

tony greenstein
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Your bravery

14.01.2009 03:57

Well done Dovid!

Here was me regretting not having organised some non violent direct action like we did on June 29th, only to hear that you had! Your action reminds me of when I disrupted the Salute to Israel parade with 'Unhappy birthday' (see video clip on My Space), though I was at least protected by four minders. Doing it in the Square was more effective and more courageous- at least there weren't any CST around on the parade.

Speaking of those Zionist Thought Police, I've pasted on a report my friend and I wrote after they stopped us going to a Liberal Judaism meeting.


Barred by CST from Liberal Judaism meeting

This evening Deborah Fink and I were turned away from the panel discussion on Gaza, chaired by Rabbi Danny Rich of Liberal Judaism, by two CST (Community Security Trust) men acting in their usual high-handed, arrogant fashion.

We arrived shortly after the meeting began, having had trouble locating the venue which changed from the Montagu Centre to the Indian YMCA at short notice because so many people wanted to attend. We were genuinely interested in listening and possibly asking some questions and had no intention of being disruptive.

Since we had previously been at a picket in Parliament Square, I was carrying the J-BIG banner and poles in bags. While waiting for Debbie, I approached the CST guys in a friendly fashion, saying I would like to park the poles somewhere before going into the hall as obviously I did not want them with me at the meeting. They asked how I heard of the meeting and I said I'd read about it on Rabbi Rich's website and was very interested to hear the discussion. They asked if my name was on the list and I said I understood my friend's name plus one had been put on it in advance by a rabbi friend of hers. While we waited for Debbie they said they would have to search my bag and I said fine and drew their attention at once to the banner, which I said I would also like to leave outside with the poles. They immediately said "You can't go in". I explained again that I wanted to leave the banner and poles outside and I didn't see that they had the right to stop me attending an important discussion, but they were adamant that they had decided and that was it.

When Debbie arrived, she joked that Naomi was not going to hit anyone with the poles and could leave them at the back of the room, later pointing out that they could just be curtain poles from John Lewis! She then told them that her name had been put on the list by a rabbi, who then appeared and confirmed this, but the CST continued to deny us entry and threatened us with the police. Things got a bit fraught and I went to ask the building reception staff if they could provide a place to leave the banner and poles. They said that as long as I was allowed into the meeting they could put them in a locked store room for me.

I went back to report this but it made no difference to the CST men who were arguing with Debbie about their right to decide who attended the meeting. She had pointed out to them, as she had in previous confrontations, that they don't own the building, it was not their meeting and they aren't police, so what right did they have to order us not to go in? They even blocked the stairway so she could not go down!

A police officer then arrived and a colleague of Rabbi Rich's came out. Alarmed by the fracas she decided to uphold the
CST decision, which was unfortunate given that it would not have occurred without their determination from the start to bar us as soon as they worked out that we were activists. The CST bullies need to be challenged and stood up to. They had lied to the police officer, (and no doubt to the organisers), telling him that we intended to unfurl the banner inside the hall (although they had no idea what kind of banner it was), but even though we explained again that it would be left in a store room if we were allowed in, permission was denied and had no choice but to leave.

The CST were now saying that the banner was not the issue, but they did not want Debbie in there! So first it was the banner, then it was Deborah Fink’s attendance that was the issue! They sneered when they said her name and talked to her in a condescending manner. Apparently they told the policeman that they had had dealings with Debbie before. They had indeed, as she will not accept their self-appointed 'authority' to go beyond their basic security duties.

Outside the building, as we chatted amicably with the police officer who seemed not terribly enamoured of the CST methods, a J-BIG friend came out having attended the first part of the meeting. She had been allowed in without having her name on any list, so it is clear that the list business was a red herring anyway.

The whole incident is just another example of how the CST act like a private Zionist police force having no regard for the desirability of open discussion within the Jewish community and intent on censoring critics of Israel. We hope that Liberal Judaism will not see the need to call on them in similar circumstances in future.

Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi & Deborah Fink

Deborah Fink
- Homepage:

Attacks on anti-Zionist Jews and trying to contact Dovid

14.01.2009 13:03

Hi there, my name is Emily Dugan and I'm a reporter at The Independent on Sunday.

I'm trying to keep track of all attacks made by Zionists towards Jews who are campaigning for the other side.

As part of this I would be very interested in speaking to Dovid about his experience at the weekend - perhaps someone could put me in touch with him?

Also, do let me know if you have heard of any attacks, hate mail or threats made to pro-Palestinian Jews in the last few weeks.

Many thanks, Emily.

Emily Dugan

The Independent on Sunday

Direct line: 02070052328

Emily Dugan
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more responses

14.01.2009 14:29

RE Emily: I will call you asap, I'm just at work right now.

RE other posts:

Wow, i don't really know how to take so many compliments, thanks i guess!

I never realised that the CST were so political, I've only ever seen them guarding synagogues before. Deborah, I can't believe they did that, how dare they.

We've got an endless array of post-holocaust related trauma within the community but almost zero memory of the Jewish Police-forces without whom the trains would have never been as filled; the treachery of the Jewish leadership councils who pledged to be 'Bearers of Secrets' for the Nazi's, secrets such as what lied at the end of the train journeys. I can't understand how you can have a near fascist deference for the state and authority, Jewish or otherwise, in knowledge of those things, like the organised Jewish community has.

I remember at my Jewish school being taught, literally, that the holocaust teaches Jews that the only people they can trust are other Jews. I think that lesson, which is wrong and incorrect on so many levels, props up the backbone of zionism. That and Zionisms endless ability to generate hatred towards Jews through it's massacres and injustices, which it persists on claiming is for the benefit of Jews as a whole.

Should we organise a great big gathering for jews across the diaspora who refuse identification with Israel??

And who the hell are these Jewish Community Leadership and Board of Deputies anyway? How is it even possible to represent a disparate community? Well I guess the same goes for the state in general.

Ok so now I'm just kvetshing... are there any meetings coming up?

All the best

ps, CNN did a reasonable job of covering Sundays demo by the way:

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