Jews welcome ban on EDL marches

By Simon Rocker, September 1, 2011

The London Jewish Forum has backed Home Secretary Theresa May's decision to ban a planned march by the English Defence League on Saturday through the East London borough of Tower Hamlets, home to a large Muslim population. On Wednesday she also banned EDL marches in the City of London.

LJF chairman Adrian Cohen said there was "considerable relief within the Jewish community" at the ban on the march, "which, if it had gone ahead, would have been very damaging to community relations".

Mr Cohen had earlier written to London Mayor Boris Johnson to urge that the demonstration be stopped.

He wrote: "The vast majority of Jewish Londoners and their institutions oppose all forms of racism in society and believe the anti-Muslim campaigning of EDL to be abhorrent and at odds with the multicultural and inclusive city that London is so proud to be."

Rabbi Mark Goldsmith, chairman of the Assembly of Reform Rabbis UK, Rabbi Danny Rich, chief executive of Liberal Judaism, and Masorti's senior rabbi, Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, had also called on Ms May to ban the event.

‘This march is at odds with what London should be’

The march had been seen as particularly provocative coming so soon after the major Muslim festival of Eid.

● A series of events is planned next month to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street when Jews and their allies stopped Oswald Mosley's Brownshirts from marching through the East End.

Last updated: 1:05pm, September 1 2011