Met police are treating the incident as a hate crime, according to a statement released Thursday. No injuries were reported and no arrests were made, the force said.
“The occupants of the bus were Jewish and the abuses directed at them were allegedly anti-Semitic in nature,” the Met statement read, adding that police were called at the time of the incident and officers were deployed. However, while the police were on the way, the bus “left the scene to avoid any further confrontation.”
In the video, passengers can be heard saying “we are Jews” and “we have to go”. The video shows one of the men in the group hitting the bus with his shoe as it walks away.
Rabbi Shneor Glitsenstein, who was on the bus, called the incident a “fanatic anti-Semitic attack”.
“Be clear: Monday night we were attacked in the streets of London for being Jewish and celebrating Chanukah. While our bus contained no reference to Israel, we were clearly a Jewish group. The young men around us were not engaged in political protest; it was a fanatical anti-Semitic attack in the heart of London, seen by dozens of others, who remained silent, ”Glitsenstein said in a statement released by the Israeli center Chabad Golders Green.
The rabbi said around 40 young people gathered to mark the second night of Hanukkah aboard an “open-air party bus.” He said the night turned sour after a group of men approached them as they were dancing on Oxford Street in central London.
“They (the men) quickly got aggressive and started doing profane gestures and shouting ‘Free Palestine’! At least one projectile on the roof of the bus, spitting on the bus and hitting the windows with their shoes.”
After the bus left, the “Hanukkah on Wheels” continued, Glitsenstein added.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the images “disturbing”.
“Racism of any kind will never be tolerated in our society and we will continue to do everything possible to eradicate it,” Johnson said in a tweet Thursday.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted on Wednesday that “anti-Semitism has no place in society and I totally condemn these disgusting acts. No one should have to go through this. If you have any information about this incident, I urge you to report it. “
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