It is time for Jews and our supporters to stand firm

The JC leader, 7 June 2024


Supporters of Israel at a rally in London, 2 June 2024 (Getty)

June 05, 2024 09:58

On Sunday, some 40,000 people marched through London to protest over the crisis in Israel and Gaza. Unlike the marches which now regularly turn parts of London into a no-go zone for Jews, this one was entirely peaceful and devoid of hate. That is because the protest was directed at Hamas, to demand the release of the hostages held since October 7, rather than at the nation defending itself from Hamas. Strikingly, the march was a sea of Israeli flags – a welcome, uplifting and rare sight.

Walk through parts of London and you will see the Palestinian flag displayed in windows, on lampposts and as graffiti on walls. These flags are raised with impunity. But the sight of an Israeli flag is much rarer, not least because flying one in a house window seems to be an invitation for a brick to be thrown. So it was not just uplifting to see the flags on the march – it was important, because it is important for the world to see that we will not be cowed and we will not be silenced.

The cowardice of the organisers of the Hay Book Festival and the Edinburgh International Book Festival in the face of protests by a bunch of fringe activists at their sponsorship by the fund management company Baillie Gifford provides an instructive comparison. Some of the company’s investments involve Israel, which draws the ire of activists. But instead of holding firm against a tiny number of activists, both festivals caved in almost immediately.

We Jews do not have the luxury of caving in when we are met with outrageous campaigners. We have to stand firm, because our future and Israel’s security are at stake. That is why it is all the more depressing when others take the easy path of running away.

June 05, 2024 09:58

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