Hundreds turn out for Brighton Israel rally

Israel supporters at the Brighton rally (Photo: Daniel Easterman)

Israel supporters at the Brighton rally (Photo: Daniel Easterman)

Hundreds of people turned out for a pro-Israel rally in the centre of Brighton at the weekend.

Activists included Christian supporters who made the journey from as far away as Wales and Yorkshire.

Police officers at the scene said there were more than 300 demonstrators. But the organisers, Sussex Friends of Israel put the figure at 1,000 people.

Addressing the rally on Sunday, Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, said: “Brighton is extremely suitable as a venue for this event because it suffered a very serious IRA bomb attack aimed at destroying our government. This is experienced on a daily basis in Israel.

“All of us need to stand up and speak up for Israel, all the time. Particularly when it faces the kind of bombs it has been facing recently. If we speak loudly our voices will be heard and less easy to ignore by people in power.

He concluded: “These are terrible times in so many ways for so many of us. But they are also great times. The reason I say that is because each and every one of us in our own way has the privilege to stand up for our country and the state of Israel in its adversity.”

Another speaker, the mayor of the West Bank settlement of Efrat, Oded Ravivi, told the crowd: “Foreigners who come to visit Efrat think they are coming into a warzone and will see bloodshed. But actually what they see is a a city – a green city with no fence or security measures around it, living peacefully with its surrounding Arab neighbours”

A heavy police presence ensured that the demonstrators and a small group of pro-Palestinian counter-protesters were kept apart.

Last updated: 1:34pm, August 19 2014