Yesterday, 23rd May 2021, the Zionist Federation held a rally in Central London to show solidarity with Israel in the face of ongoing mass rocket attacks against civilian population centres by Hamas and other groups in the Gaza Strip. The rally was well attended with an estimated 2000 participants, and largely passed peacefully despite a small but aggressive counter-demonstration.
Organised in conjunction with the Community Security Trust and Metropolitan Police, this rally was also supported by the World Zionist Organisation UK, he Manchester Zionist Central Council, We Believe in Israel, Sussex Friends of Israel, North West Friends of Israel, North London Friends of Israel, The Israel Advocacy Movement, Christians United for Israel and Hertfordshire Friends of Israel.
Tzipi Hotovely, Israeli Ambassador to the UK, was also present. Addressing attendees and British Jewry as a whole, she said: “Israel sees you and hears you and thanks you.”
Speaking after the rally, Paul Charney, Chairman of the Zionist Federation said: “A massive thank you to all our friends and supporters who came together yesterday in a demonstration of solidarity with Israel. It is hard to imagine any other state coming under such sustained attacks for the simple act of defending its own citizens from indiscriminate rocket fire, which is in fact a war crime.
While we of course welcome the recent ceasefire between Israel and Gazan-based Palestinian factions, it was still important to hold yesterday’s rally. Despite a rise in anti-Semitism, we will not be cowed. In addition to showing our support for Israel, the rally had the duel benefit of making it very that British Zionists will continue to fight and advocate for Israel in the face of adversity.
As ever, we are hugely grateful to the Community Security Trust and Metropolitan Police for their help in allowing this event to go ahead safely.”
During her speech at the rally, Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews said: “Every time the Israeli-Palestinian conflict flares, antisemitic incidents in the UK spike drastically. We pray and hope that the ceasefire holds – Israel we stand with you”.
During his speech, Jonathan Goldstein, President of the Jewish Leadership Council said: “After too many wars, thousands of rockets and terrorist attacks almost every day, Israel survives and despite that, let me tell you one thing, Israel loves the world and we all love Israel”.