Passengers on a Metrolink tram in Manchester were forced on Thursday to defend a young orthodox charedi Jewish couple from a man who repeatedly harassed them about “Gaza”.
As the tram passed through the city centre on the Bury line at approximately 22:30 on Thursday evening, a young black man began accosting the Jewish couple, demanding that they answer questions about Gaza. The man approached the couple but they then moved away from him and other passengers moved to stand between them.
As the man claimed: “He doesn’t care about the situation, I know for a fact” another passenger retorted: “Tell me have you been smoking something? You’re full of it.” Another interjected: “He’s been drinking. I’d close that mouth, mate.”
The man continued to shout “Does he know about Gaza?” across the carriage, forcing other passengers to stand up to him, physically barring his way and at points restraining him as he tried to approach the couple. One man said: “I’m not having this in my city” and another challenged him: “What right have you to ask a question of anybody?” The man kept calling out to the Jewish couple, telling the husband: “Rabbi, come here, mate.” When asked whether he was from Manchester, the man said he was from “Palestine”.
Another Jewish passenger asked the man why he was not asking her about Gaza, enquiring whether it was because she was not recognisably Jewish from her attire. The man was momentarily speechless as other Mancunians unanimously said: “Exactly!”
Campaign Against Antisemitism has reported the matter to the police. We would like to encourage anybody who witnessed the incident or knows the identity of anyone who was involved to call the police on 101 and contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us on 0330 822 0321, choosing option 2.
Campaign Against Antisemitism commends those who defended the Jewish couple against antisemitism. Jewish people should not be subjected to taunting and harassment in public, and Manchester can be proud that this particular antisemite was given short shrift.