Groups unite to combat hate rally

Show of solidarity and diversity planned for day before neo-Nazi protest


The launch of the Golders Green Together campaign this week comes ahead of a series of events to promote diversity in the run-up to the planned protest by neo-Nazis in north-west London next month.

The initiative was launched on Monday by the London Jewish Forum and anti-fascism group Hope Not Hate, with around 50 supporters and community leaders attending a photocall.

It is a response to the planned demonstration against "Jewish privilege", which is expected to take place in Golders Green during Shabbat on July 4.

Representatives of the Muslim, Sikh, Anglican, Methodist and Hindu communities supported the launch. Anglican vicar Rex Morton, of Golders Green Parish Church, said: "The idea that people would want to come and march against any part of our community is abhorrent.

"Jews and Christians have been here for yonks; we've lived happily together for decades."

‘The idea that people would want to march against our community is abhorrent’

Board of Deputies president Jonathan Arkush said the launch showed "there is a massive, society-wide condemnation of antisemitism, and all forms of racism.

"Here you can see people from all faiths coming together with the Jewish community to demonstrate their revulsion at antisemitism."

Hope Not Hate's John Page said: "We didn't expect these sorts of numbers and need to decide how to build on that. The biggest problem now is how do you follow such a tremendous outpouring."

Finchley and Golders Green MP Mike Freer said: "It's right to show them they are not welcome, but we must ensure that the groups in the counter-demonstration remain united, as we don't want to cause any friction that reflects badly on the community."

The campaign will culminate with supporters gathering in the area on July 3 and decorating Golders Green in gold and green ribbons.

Mr Page and Jay Stoll, LJF public affairs director, said it would be important to find a balance during counter-protests the following day between ensuring visible communal opposition to the demonstration without handing the extremists significant publicity.

Mr Page said: "This tiny bunch of right-wing fascists will view it as a success if they can provoke a conflict.

"It's very important that anyone who intends to counter-protest doesn't give the far-right the satisfaction of having created a conflict on the day."

Far-right activist Eddie Stampton said he was one of four people organising the protest.

He claimed it was "purely aimed at the Shomrim", the community security volunteer group, and claimed activists opposed what he called a "private police force".

Jews were not the focus of the demo, he said, but he added his belief that "one section of the community is being granted special privileges".

The Golders Green Together initiative has been backed by Jewish communal groups including the Board and Community Security Trust.

The counter-demonstration on July 4 will be led by grassroots group the Campaign Against Antisemitism.

Around 2,000 people backed the CAA's "No to Nazis Here or Anywhere" event online and the group appealed for volunteers to assist its efforts.

Detective Superintendent Steve Wallace, acting borough commander in Barnet, said his officers would ensure the people of Golders Green are safe during the antisemitic protest. "There may be unpleasantness, but the public will be able to move around safely. On the day, people will be safe. That's my priority".

The police are considering imposing a series of restrictions on the protesters, including moving the time and venue of the rally.

It is not possible for the event to be banned, as it is a static protest rather than a march through the area.

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