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Israel protesters show their sectarian nature

I WAS rather confused by Dr Brian Kelly's piece (DebateNI, August 26) relating to the recent wave of pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Belfast.

In his portrayal, masses of people of all stripes and backgrounds have collectively joined together to stop the barbaric practices of the state of Israel.

This, we are to believe, is the sign of a new Belfast that moves beyond sectarianism. I find such a vision of the reality on the ground rather amusing. A pro-Palestinian friend and I witnessed one of these protests and even he was disgusted by what he saw.

At this particular rally, the Irish flag, as well as the starry plough, were being waved alongside Palestinian flags. And Dr Kelly has the gall to act as if these protesters are not sectarian? A woman with a Union flag was assaulted at one of these protests and I was heckled and insulted for carrying an Israeli flag. Is this really the "new Belfast"?

Since these protests began, several of my friends have told me about anti-Semitic incidents across the city. Our synagogue has been defaced twice. I have been called a baby-killer because I support Israel. But, according to Dr Kelly, we are to believe this movement has advanced beyond sectarianism? This is utter nonsense.

The fact that these marches care only for the Palestinians – long an ally of the republican movement – highlights the true nature of this movement.

HAROLD OHAYON

Belfast

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