This weekend, some people in London honoured those who fought murderous antisemites in the past to protect our freedoms. Others paraded to glorify murderous antisemites in the present who want to kill all Jews and destroy the Jewish state.
Once again, the marches featured genocidal chants, Hamas headbands, antisemitic signs comparing Israel to Nazis and others caricaturing prominent minority politicians as coconuts, and the marchers who may not have engaged in these activities knowingly and readily marched alongside those who did. They are just as complicit.
We are also aware of Jewish families being targeted on their way out of synagogue and have received multiple reports of police having to escort congregants away in groups for their own safety.
Islamist extremists, the far-left, and the far-right were out on the streets, all on one day. What a day to be a Jew in London.
While we welcome the more significant number of arrests this week, the overall policing policy in relation to these demonstrations is woeful. This march should never have been allowed to go ahead, and the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, Sir Mark Rowley, yet again, has serious questions to answer.
The refusal of the Met to ban this march was not only a failing of its duty to law-abiding Londoners, including the Jewish community, but it was a disgrace to the heroes that we paused to remember.
The Met’s refusal was in spite of our calls, including on Newsnight and ITV, on the Met Commissioner and the Mayor of London, to ban the march under section 13 of the Public Order Act, and our urging of the Home Secretary to direct the Mayor of London to remedy the Met’s failures under section 40 of the Police Act. It also came despite evidence that we collected from last week’s march of open support for Hamas.
We need to hear from you
This weekend’s march – and the failure of the authorities to stand by the Jewish community – opens a new chapter in our campaign to defend British Jews. But now we need to hear from you.
We are running two surveys – one for Jewish people living in Britain, and another for all of our other supporters – which will help us in our dealings with Government, the police and media and will enable us to craft the right policies moving forward.
You can also tell us how these marches have impacted your life or routine by completing an Impact Statement.
We may contact you about the information that you give us and use it to make legal representations to the police in support of limiting or banning further demonstrations of this nature.
First-of-its-kind event with the BBC
Last Wednesday, courtesy of Campaign Against Antisemitism, two senior BBC executives addressed the Jewish community for the first time.
We are grateful to Rhodri Talfan Davies and David Jordan from the BBC’s executive team for joining us for this unprecedented event. It was the first time that BBC executives have spoken directly to the Jewish community.
The participation of over 300 of you ensured that the strong feelings of British Jewry regarding the BBC’s coverage were expressed, and that the BBC’s representatives were left in no doubt about the strength of that feeling.
Campaign Against Antisemitism has been at the forefront of holding the BBC to account, not only over recent weeks but for the past several years since our inception, including rallies, projections and an ongoing legal complaint.
We believe that criticism and pressure are vital, and that they are complemented by a collaborative relationship. This event, in which senior BBC figures spoke with and heard directly from the community for the first time, was one of the fruits of that relationship.
This is a long process and faces many challenges, but it is essential if we are to pivot our national broadcaster to a fairer and more accurate representative of the issues that our community cares about.