Jewish LGBT+ charity pulls out of London Pride march over safety fears

KeshetUK said it had ‘listened very carefully’ to concerns of its members


The KeshetUK-led Jewish Pride contingent (credit: Gilad Visotsky)

The Jewish community’s largest LGBT+ charity will not take part in the London Pride march this weekend after listening to members who “do not feel safe”, said its heads.

KeshetUK and West London Synagogue usually march in Pride London as part of a Jewish contingent and said they have “long valued” their place at the event.

But in an email sent jointly by KeshetUK and the Reform synagogue, organisers said: “Against the background of what has been a challenging and at times a complex year for many Jews in the UK, including LGBT+ Jews, some of our friends and congregants have said they do not feel safe marching in the Pride in London event as they have felt in previous years.”

The email added: “LGBT+ Jews need safe spaces for celebration, joy, and to feel pride in who we are. With this especially in mind, we have long valued our Jewish presence at Pride in London. We understand the importance of visibility.

“We have listened very carefully to those concerns expressed about the event. Our primary duty is to create a safe space where we can all feel joy, pride and community.

Organisers said that “sadly against this background”, instead of participating in the parade, West London Synagogue and KeshetUK would host a Pride Picnic. 

They added: “Please be assured that our priority is for all of us to be together where we can celebrate happily without concern. We hope that you will join us along with those who have decided not to march.”

In previous years, as many as 200 Jews have attended the London Pride march as a group, but since October 7, pro-Palestinian groups such Queers for Palestine and some other LGBT+ marchers at the anti-Israel demonstrations have left many LGBT+Jews feeling intimidated.

Earlier this month, Pride in London put out a statement on social media, accusing Israel of committing “genocide”, saying: "We abide by our core values of Visibility, Unity and Equality throughout our work. All of us who are marginalised, oppressed and subject to hate and violence—our liberation is bound together.

“That means Pride in London stands with all those suffering from the devastating war and genocide in Gaza, all the innocent civilians in both Israel and Palestine who have been subjected to terror and violence in this humanitarian crisis and all Muslims and Jews worldwide who are facing rising hate and discrimination here in London and around the world.”

KeshetUK has previously led a delegation of Jewish people on the march, which included members of the Jewish Gay and Lesbian Group, GJIL, the Beit Klal Yisrael Liberal Jewish community, Jewish lesbian and gay parenting group Imahot v’Avot and Parents of Jewish Gays and Lesbians. 

It is not yet known if these groups will continue to take part in the event or take part in the Picnic. 

KeshetUK is an education and training charity which aims to ensure that Jewish LGBT+ people and their families are included throughout Jewish life in the UK.

Pride in London has been approached for comment.

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