The London police have begun an investigation into posters describing Israel as a “racist endeavour” that sprung up at bus stops across the city recently.
The posters are believed to have been installed in response to the Labour party’s decision to finally accept the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism on Tuesday night, reported The Evening Standard.
The large signs have appeared in at least four locations, including bus stops in Westminster, Waterloo and Bloomsbury.
They have a plain white background behind the words: “Israel is a racist endeavour.” This is designed to mock the IHRA definition, which states that “claiming the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour” equates to anti-Semitism.
Transport for London (TfL) said the adverts were “absolutely not authorised” and would be removed from the network “immediately”.
The Met tweeted to say police in Lambeth were investigating reports of fly-posting and that “offensive material will be removed”.
The posters shocked Londoners making their way home from work, with many describing them as “vile” and “terrifying”. Others claimed the adverts were a “hate crime”.
A TfL spokesperson said: “These adverts are absolutely not authorised by TfL or our advertising partner JCDecaux.
“It is fly posting and therefore an act of vandalism which we take extremely seriously. We have instructed our contractors to remove any of these posters found on our network immediately.”
A group titled London Palestine Action tweeted pictures of several posters, although it is not clear exactly who erected them.
Critics had claimed that the wording of the IHRA examples could prevent criticism of the Israeli government’s actions against Palestinians but the leadership faced intense pressure to accept them in full.
But Labour said in a statement that all of the IHRA examples of anti-Semitism had been adopted’ adding that it did not “undermine” freedom of expression on Israel and Palestinians.