A group of Jewish war veterans and youngsters were pelted with eggs and submitted to anti-Semitic abuse at a memorial service in London’s East End on Sunday.
The ceremony commemorated the death of some 130 - mostly Jewish - people killed in a tower block by a German missile.
The local Jewish-black Labour MP Oona King was also present at the event, which was disrupted by a group of local Bangladeshi youths.
David Russell, spokesman for the Jewish East End Celebration Society, which organised the event, told EJP he believed the attack was aimed at both King and the Jewish relatives of the victims.
King is standing for re-election in the local constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow where she is being challenged by left-wing anti-Israel politician George Galloway.
Russell said: “The area of Tower Hamlets, where the ceremony took place, has a well-documented problem of unruly youths from the Bangladeshi community.
“One theory is that the abuse was directed at Oona King (…). However, quite a number of the attendees were wearing kippot (skull caps), and some of the abuse shouted was vocally anti-Semitic. I heard people shouting ‘you f***ing Jews’,” he declared.
Russell said the problems started as soon as the ceremony began. The youths, who had gathered around the stage, began pelting both King and some of the attendees with raw eggs and vegetables.
The police were called immediately, but after they left the abuse and egg throwing continued.
Bugler Richard Brett, member of a band from the Jewish Lads and Girls Brigade, was hit by an egg, as was 89-year-old war veteran Louis Lewis.
Up to and during the World War II the London’s East End was home to a large Jewish community. When the Jews began to move to the suburbs, they were replaced by an Asian community who now make up the vast majority of local residents.
Russell stressed that the troublemakers represent only a small percentage of the local Asian community.
“I don’t believe this one incident should tarnish the entire Asian community of Tower Hamlets (…). The reality is there is a hardcore bunch of extremists and it could have been a lot worse,” he stated.
King, the daughter of a Jewish mother and a black U.S. civil rights activist, called the incident “disgusting.”
“It was a dreadfully disrespectful act, especially given that it was at a memorial event for people killed within Bethnal Green,” she told EJP.
Published by arrangement with European Jewish Press , a pan-European news agency based in Belgium