As a non-Jew, I will be marching against hatred

We have to show the world that we will not cower to antisemitism from the brainwashed


Members of the Jewish community hold a protest against Britain's opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and anti-semitism in the Labour party, outside the British Houses of Parliament in central London on March 26, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Tolga AKMEN (Photo credit should read TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

November 23, 2023 15:26

This Sunday, I will join thousands of people at the solidarity against antisemitism march in central London.

I’m not Jewish, I have no connection with Israel and I have never been on a rally or waved a placard in my life.

So why now? Why, you may ask, as someone with no skin in the game, would I take time out of my weekend off to stand alongside Britain’s Jews and their allies?

Because of the sudden rise in antisemitism in the UK, a nation I thought, naively perhaps, protected Jews and their communities. Because my wonderful Jewish friends have, for the past seven weeks, felt terrified and alone. Because I am their ally, a philosemite who has always been drawn towards and fascinated by Judaism and the culture. Because I am proud of the teeny tiny drop of Jewish blood that runs through my veins from my paternal great-great-grandmother.

But mostly because of October 7th. The worst horror inflicted on Jews since the Holocaust, an atrocity which the Western world vowed it would ‘never again’ allow to happen.

Then Hamas happened. On that fateful day, it sent its barbaric and medieval minions to attack, pillage, rape and burn ordinary Israelis who were preparing for the Simchat Torah celebration in kibbutzim by the Gaza border, while also slaughtering hundreds of young people who were high on life as they danced and hugged friends at the Supernova peace festival.

Seven weeks on, the full extent of the unfathomable wickedness is now known through IDF evidence, survivors and eyewitnesses bravely sharing their accounts and the shocking and heartbreaking footage taken by those monsters as they documented their torturous killing spree.

As a sub-editor for a national broadsheet, I have read and seen things I wish I hadn’t. Spent sleepless nights reliving them over and over, worried sick about those who were kidnapped, especially the babies crying out for their mothers. But there's a part of me that is glad I didn’t turn away. Their lives must be fought for and we must never, ever, forget the evil that ran riot across the Palestinian border and into innocent people’s lives that day.

And yet on the streets of my beloved London town – and other cities around the world – instead of denouncing the actions of these terrorists, tens of thousands of people appear to be taking their side, ripping down posters of those kidnapped, denying the attack took place, demanding evidence, destroying Jewish businesses, calling for more atrocities against the Jews and demanding the Palestinians' ‘occupied’ land be returned to them.

A reaction to the atrocity that has filled me with anger, despair, shock and disbelief. A reaction that comes with ignorance – half of these people couldn’t even find the region on a map let alone know the history.

‘From the river to the sea’, they loudly chant but are unable to say which river and sea.

‘Queers for Palestine’, they bellow, either ignorant about or wishing to ignore exactly how Hamas deal with members of the LGBTQ+ community.

A reaction that has encouraged vicious antisemitism from those who call themselves anti-fascists and anti-racists, and has emboldened the worst anti-social behaviour as armchair thugs move off social media and onto the streets while our poor excuse for police forces look on and do nothing.

The same mob who no doubt – and rightly so – denounced the murder of Jo Cox, but are now defacing Labour MP’s offices, sending death threats and converging outside their constituency offices just because ministers don’t want to give Hamas an inch to plan more death and destruction.

A ceasefire vote that is utterly meaningless anyway. What do they think will happen if the majority rules? “Hello, Mr Netanyahu? Yes, this is the UK’s shadow Cabinet, we’ve voted for a ceasefire so you’d better tell the troops to stand down.”

The stupidity and narcissism is overwhelming – and extremely dangerous.

I have spent the last seven weeks reaching out to my friends, being in touch with them daily, fully supporting them and giving hugs and reassurance whenever we manage to find a moment to meet. I know how frightened they all are, how it is seeping into their children’s schools and their communities. And it breaks my heart.

This is why I must be there to stand with them on Sunday at the march.

And march we will. We will show the country and the world we will not cower to antisemitism from the fascists and the brainwashed.

What separates us from them, among many things, is that we will walk with dignity, peace and love, not racist abuse and hate. No one will call for Muslim genocide, no one will hold racist banners or shout intimidating slogans.

We will remember the dead and say a prayer for those who have yet to be returned to their families since they were snatched and taken into the jaws of Hamas hell.

And I will do it standing proudly by my friends’ side and with Israel and Jews everywhere. Today, tomorrow and always.

Am Yisrael Chai.

November 23, 2023 15:26

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