Freedom News

British and Israeli Jews protest the Israeli Ambassador

Tzipi Hotovely is one of the most hard-line Israeli ambassadors to the UK ever. So it was to the doorstep of her official residence, in one of the most wealthy and exclusive London neighbourhoods, that British and Israeli Jews took their anger this evening. A press release from the organisers stated: ‘On Friday night, we light Shabbat and memorial candles, not in our homes but at the address of the Israeli ambassador. We will raise our voices for peace and justice. We will tell Tzipi Hotovely that we are witnesses to her State’s crimes and will never be silent. We also call for an end to Israel’s 16-year blockade of the Gazan people and its brutal occupation of Palestine. We mourn for all the Palestinians and Israelis killed and seek an end to this cycle of violence. We know that the atrocities committed by one side will inevitably rebound on the other until we find a path of justice and equality.’

Placards in Hebrew carried slogans “The people demand a ceasefire”, “End the blockade”, “War crimes do not justify war crimes”, and “Protect all civilians”. Chants in both Hebrew and English demanded an immediate ceasefire that the Israeli government start meaningful negotiations with Hamas over the estimated 200 hostages and allow aid into Gaza through the Rafah crossing, which borders Egypt. The protest, which numbered around thirty five, was organised by word of mouth and continued outside the ambassador’s mansion for over an hour with songs and chanting. A similar number of cops also attended it. An update was given about the plight of a friend of those present. A British citizen was visiting family in Gaza with her baby when the fighting started. She remains trapped there with only occasional communication as the infrastructure is destroyed and electricity becomes increasingly scarce.

Eran Kahane, one of the organisers of the protest, said: “We, British Jews and Israelis, protested by the Israeli ambassador’s house tonight, Shabbat night, for our friend who is trapped in Gaza with her baby and for all the Gazans trapped by the Israeli siege and heavy bombardments, as well as for the Israeli hostages held by Hamas. We lit Shabbat and memorial candles for all the victims – Israelis, Palestinians and others – of the barbaric attack by Hamas and the current revenge attack by Israel. Only an end to the Israeli occupation can stop the vicious cycle of bloodshed!”

Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi from JVL said: “It is vital for us Jews, who value equality, justice and respect for all human life, to challenge the false notion that our safety depends on destroying other people. The Israeli state, led by racist extremists contemptuous of the values we hold dear, is engaged in a genocidal project to rid the land of Palestine of its indigenous inhabitants. We cannot stand by and let our own leaders cheer on the ethnic cleansing happening before our very eyes, knowing that the cost will be intolerable – in the blood of those dying in Gaza and the illegally occupied territories and in the deadly divisive consequences for communities here in Britain.”

Today’s protest follows on from one by Na’amod (British Jews Against the Occupation) on Thursday October 19th, which saw hundreds gathered in Parliament Square, London. “We will not let our grief be weaponised to justify genocide”. Their demands were a ceasefire, an end to the siege on Gaza, and the release of the hostages.

The national Free Palestine demonstration on October 21st will have a Jewish bloc called by The Black Jewish Alliance, Jewdas, Jewish Solidarity Action, Jewish Socialists’ Group, Jews for Justice for Palestinians and Na’amod. The meeting point is outside Pret a Manger, 26 Edgeware Rd, from 11.30 am.

Image: Guy Smallman

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