More than 200 Jews attend London Pride march in largest-ever show of support

Marchers display Star of David flags at ‘warm and welcoming’ event


The largest-ever co-ordinated contingent of Jewish members of the LGBTQ community turned out for the London Pride parade, with about 200 people across six different organisations marching together.

Despite the row over flags bearing the Star of David at the Chicago Dyke march, a spokesman for KeshetUK – a Jewish LGBT advocacy group – said there was “no tension at all”.

Last month, several Jews were asked to leave the annual Chicago event march after being told their flags, which were emblazoned with the Magen David, “made people feel unsafe.”

Dave Shaw, a founding trustee of KeshetUK and the chairman of Gay Jews in London (GJIL), said: “The fact people there were from Jewish groups was clearly indicated. There were flags with the Star of David, and some people were wearing kippot.

“But everyone made us feel welcome, and they were very supportive. The atmosphere was very uplifting and warm and welcoming.”

Star of David flags were on show at Pride 2017 (credit: Natalie Grazin)

Mr Shaw added that Jewish Pride-goers met with members of Imaan, a Muslim LGBT support group, who donated some of their parade wristbands after KeshetUK had run out.

KeshetUK led a delegation of about 200 Jewish people, 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 on Saturday.

Some marchers wore t-shirts adorned with modified Magen David which read "And I Will Always Love Jew", a play on words of the title of the famous Whitney Houston song.

A number of participants in Liberal Judaism’s Rainbow Jews project – an oral history project on UK LGBT Jews – also attended London Pride.

Rainbow Jews project manager Shaan Knan said: "It was fantastic to see so many Rainbow Jews marching in the parade and being out and proud. We've certainly come a long way.

"Pride is not only a time to celebrate LGBTQI+ lives, but also an opportunity to remind ourselves of the continuing struggle toward equality - celebrating difference and diversity.”

Israeli-born Alon Or-bach, who marched with the LGBT Labour group and Jewish Labour Movement (JLM), said the number of Jewish attendees showed attitudes are “going beyond tolerance to acceptance”.



Mr Or-bach, a Barnet councillor for East Finchley, said: “It’s really pleasing to see groups like KeshetUK being more vocal and growing in numbers – and in their confidence in speaking out.

“It isn’t all shuls but a lot of progress has been made. There are many fights still to fight, but we have made great strides.”

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