David Lammy and Tom Tugendhat give impassioned speeches at Downing Street vigil for Israel

There was a sombre but defiant atmosphere as thousands of British Jews and non-Jews came together to show their support


There was a sombre but defiant atmosphere in central London this evening as thousands of people gathered at Downing Street to show their support for Israel.

Mourners with tear-stained faces mixed with supporters of the Jewish state carrying Israeli flags in the wake of the terrorist invasion that has left the country, and the diaspora, in shock and disbelief.

The security presence - both Metropolitan police and CST officers - was noticeable as Jews and non-Jews paid their respects to those slain and prayed for the safe return of civilians ripped from their families and held hostage by Hamas terrorists.

Senior politicians from both the major parties, including security minister Tom Tugendhat, immigration minister Robert Jenrick and shadow foreign secretary David Lammy addressed the crowds gathered and expressed their commitment to Israel and stamping out antisemitism.

Addressing the crowd, security minister Tom Tugendhat said: “I see righteous anger…[about] young men [and] young women torn from their families by barbarous terror”.

Reflecting on the scores of Israelis kidnapped by Hamas terrorists and held in captivity by the “vile enemy holding them”, he said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s “commitment” to supporting Israel had “doubled” since he spoke to the country’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu today.

“The UK has stood against evil before, we have stood against hatred before, we have stood against antisemitism before,” Tugendhat said.

“We always stand against evil and hatred and antisemitism.”

Tugenhadt concluded by acknowledging his "brothers and sisters in Israel today", exlaiming "L'Chaim [to life], l'Chaim, l'Chaim."

Lammy, representing Labour, whose party conference is taking palce in Liverpool this week, told attendees: "I stand amongst you deeply understanding the trauma amongst this gathering of people. A trauma that goes back years… decades, generations and centuries."

He continued: "In this great country of the United Kingdom it doesn't matter whether you are Conservative, it doesn’t matter if you are Liberal Democrat, it doesn’t matter if you are Labour: We stand with Israel.

The 7th of October 2023 will be permanently etched into all of our memories. Eight hundred Israelis so far are dead. Over 2,000 injured. Ten UK citizens dead or missing. And hostages still being held."

Appearing to directly address Hamas, and invoking the Biblical tale of Moses, Lammy said: "Someone once said, 'Set my people free': Release them now! There can be no mincing your words with terror. With murder. With carnage. With brutality.”

He added: "We say to Hamas, what you are doing sets back the cause of peace… Only dialogue and understanding and tolerance begets peace.

To those at the vigil reeling from the ongoing horror, he said: "Whatever happens over the coming weeks and months, be assured the Labour party under Keir Starmer stands with you."

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