Israeli Prime Minister Binyomin Netanyahu was greeted with large protests outside the residence of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s ahead of the former’s U.K. visit on Wednesday, in a possible sign of the increasing anti-Israel and anti-Semitic views in the European nation.
Around 400 protesters gathered outside of 10 Downing Street to protest the visit by Netanyahu, who met with Cameron on Thursday, AFP reported.
Some of the protesters called for Netanyahu’s arrest, while others called him a “war criminal.” Others waved flags, including at least two flags of the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah. The protests were countered by at least 100 pro-Israel supporters.
Meanwhile, more than 108,000 people have so far signed a petition urging that Netanyahu be arrested in the U.K. for war crimes, which is enough for the issue to be considered for a debate in the British Parliament. The Israeli embassy called the petition a “meaninglessly publicity stunt.”
Ahead of his visit to the U.K., Netanyahu urged European leaders to partner with Israel in confronting the “mediaevalism” of militant Islam rather than criticizing Israeli policy towards the Palestinians.
“We’re challenged by the opposite of modernity, which is a barbaric mediaevalism, early mediaevalism, primitive, savage, murderous, that comes from the two sources of militant Islam,” Netanyahu said, referring to Islamic extremists in both Sunni and Shi’a Islam.
“Europe should support Israel—not pressure Israel, not attack Israel, but support Israel, which is the only real shield that Europe and the Middle East have against extremist Islam, which is surging,” he added.
The visit by Netanyahu also comes amid fears by the British Jewish community over the likely election of hard-left MP Jeremy Corbyn as the new leader of the Labour Party and thereby opposition leader. According to an August poll by London’s Jewish Chronicle, nearly seven in 10 British Jews are concerned about Corbyn due to his views on Hamas and Hezbollah, which he referred to as “our friends,” as well as his association with a noted Holocaust denier Paul Eisen.