Week after week, London has become a no-go zone for Jews. Until Sunday, when 105,000 of you – British Jews and our allies from across the country – assembled to #MarchAgainstAntisemitism. It was the largest gathering against antisemitism in a century.
Even with the full page ads in all of the major national newspapers, extensive publicity in the Jewish press, a one-hour call in programme with our Chief Executive on LBC last Thursday, and significant additional coverage in newspapers and on television and radio, the turnout still exceeded all expectations.
We were honoured to be joined by the Chief Rabbi Sir Efraim Mirvis and rabbinical leaders from across the movements; former Prime Minister Boris Johnson; Ministers Robert Jenrick, Tom Tugendhat, Robert Halfon, Shadow Cabinet Minister Peter Kyle and numerous other MPs; peers including Lord Austin; actors Eddie Marsan, Dame Maureen Lipman, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Felicity Kendall; broadcasters Robert Rinder, Julia Hartley-Brewer, Vanessa Feltz and Trevor Phillips; historian Simon Sebag Montefiore; journalists Dan Hodges and Toby Young; the photographer and activist Laura Dodsworth; ambassadors and many more. Legions of public figures and social media influencers also attended and helped get the message out to millions, while our speakers expressed the demands of the moment and Israeli singer Rita and renowned cantor Jonny Turgel provided beautiful renditions of the national anthems and performed other songs.
The march was peaceful. The march was unthreatening. The march was different from all other marches that London has hosted in recent weeks.
So many of you have sent kind feedback and messages of thanks. But above all, your testimonials, some of which we shall be posting on our social media channels this week, have powerfully expressed the impact on you of weeks of surging antisemitism. There were a number of powerful testimonies from Jewish people on the march. Some revealed that they have not entered central London in almost two months, until Sunday, and felt relieved to be able to walk the streets of their capital city again. Others said how reassuring it was to finally be able to walk alongside so many other Jews and friends in safety. Others still related to us just how empowering it was to be a Jew, in open, once again, and how important it was to them to participate.
We wish to give particular thanks to those of you who travelled from far afield, some of you on coaches organised locally and others by public transport, sometimes leaving very early in the morning or staying overnight in hotels, because you rightly wanted your voice heard. Without you, this would not have been the truly national march that it had to be.
In addition, we are enormously grateful to those Jewish organisations and the non-Jewish groups that supported the march, which so many participants have told us was one of the most important Jewish events of their lifetimes. We could not have done it without that powerful coalition of organisations that stepped up when the Jewish community and its allies needed them.
We particularly wish to thank the Metropolitan Police Service for guarding the march, the CST for protecting us all with one of the largest ever deployments, and our many stewards who helped the march run so smoothly. Thank you for keeping us safe.
You can watch the full video of speeches here.
We all felt that this march was essential. But now we can show empirically why it was so necessary. We can reveal to you the results of our survey of British Jews, which yielded the following alarming insights:
- 69% of British Jews say that they are less likely to show visible signs of their Judaism right now.
- Almost half of British Jews have considered leaving the UK due to antisemitism, since 7th October.
- More than six in ten British Jews have either personally experienced or witnessed an antisemitic incident since 7th October or know somebody who has.
- Only 16% of British Jews believe that the police treat antisemitic hate crime like other forms of hate crime, with two thirds believing that the police apply a double standard.
- A staggering 90% of British Jews say that they would avoid travelling to a city centre if a major anti-Israel demonstration was taking place there. Our urban centres have become no-go zones for Jews.
- A full 95% of British Jews believe that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) should report statistics on prosecutions of antisemitic hate crimes.
- 90% of the Jewish community believes that the British Government should proscribe Hizb ut-Tahrir.
We will be discussing these extraordinary findings with relevant authorities.
Of our supporters more generally, 85% believe that the police do not treat antisemitic crime like other forms of hate crime, 97% agree that the CPS should report statistics on prosecutions of antisemitic hate crimes, and 92% believe that the British Government should proscribe Hizb ut-Tahrir. (Unlike the survey of the Jewish community above, this supporters’ survey was not a representative poll.)
Thank you to everyone who participated in the surveys.
Last Saturday may seem like an age ago, but it saw a very different type of march – the sort we have been seeing week after week. As ever, our Demonstration and Monitoring Unit was there. To see what they found, please watch the video.
Sunday’s march will not, on its own, stop the surge of antisemitism in its tracks. But because of you the voice of British Jews and our friends has been heard, and the march will amplify the impact of all of our work in the coming weeks, as we continue to do everything we can to hold the authorities to account and defend the Jewish community.
Image credit: Campaign Against Antisemitism/Stuart Mitchell