Week after week, central London has become a no-go zone for members of our community. Marches featuring genocidal chants, Hamas-style headbands, antisemitic placards, calls for jihad, and the globalisation of intifada, along with songs about slaughtering Jews and Islamist flags, have regularly coursed through the city. We have witnessed mass criminality, including the glorification of terrorism, support for banned terrorist organisations such as Hamas, and incitement to racial or religious hatred against Jews.
This activism is not confined to London. This past weekend, for example, demonstrators launched micro rallies across the UK, where we saw shocking scenes. Outside Downing Street, thugs encouraged one another to chase an individual they referred to as “a Zionist”, and police stood by as protesters screamed the genocidal “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” chant outside Sir Keir Starmer’s office in Camden. On top of it all, there is an enduring refusal, akin to Holocaust-denial, to accept that the barbaric October 7th Hamas terrorist atrocities actually took place.
Our Demonstration and Event Monitoring Unit has helped to document and expose, week after week, the hatred and glorification of terrorism at these rallies, including among the rank-and-file protesters. Thanks to our dedicated volunteers, we have shown that many of the participants on these so-called peace marches in fact harbour repugnant views that would not have been out of place in Nazi Germany.
The police have let us down, repeatedly refusing to heed our calls to impose conditions on the marches under section 12 of the Public Order Act, notwithstanding an open letter that we arranged which was signed by 15 King’s Counsel calling for just that. Nor did the police use their powers under section 13 to ban the marches altogether, even as it became obvious that they could not police criminality on such a scale. While these problems have emanated from the police’s leadership – which has even tried to gaslight the Jewish community with regard to the meaning of some of the genocidal chants heard at the demonstrations – some officers on the ground have even been filmed smiling and posing next to some of the offenders.
While not limiting or banning the marches, the police scandalously did find the time to stop our rented billboard van displaying the faces of children kidnapped by Hamas terrorists and ordered it to be switched off and clear out of London. Undeterred, we purchased our own van, which police again, incredibly, tried again to shut down. This time we weren’t having it, and our van has stayed on the road. The hostages will not be forgotten, and we will not be silenced, until we #BringThemHome.
We have not taken police inaction and double standards lying down. A few weeks ago, we held a rally outside New Scotland Yard, where hundreds gathered to demand that the police enforce the law. While the number of arrests is growing, the surge in antisemitism has yet to be arrested, and decent people across the country are appalled. After suffering weeks of hateful demonstrations that have taken over our capital and other cities across the country, it is time for our voice to be heard. That is why we – the Jewish community and our allies – are marching together against antisemitism on Sunday 26th November, at 13:30 in central London. To register, please go to antisemitism.org/march. We hope to see you – and your friends – this Sunday.