Over 100K March Against Antisemitism in London

By Vicki Belovski

Demonstrators march against the rise of antisemitism in the U.K., Sunday in London. (Reuters/Susannah Ireland)

LONDON — Over 100,000 people marched on Sunday in London to protest rising levels of antisemitism.

The march, organized by the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) in conjunction with other Jewish and non-Jewish groups, began at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand, but crowds of people were already seen an hour before flocking into Central London from areas with large Jewish populations.  The route, heavily policed to ensure the safety of the marchers, passed next to the River Thames, up to Trafalgar Square and down Whitehall, centher of British government. Marchers passed the end of Downing Street, residence of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, before congregating in Parliament Square, where a huge stage had been set up, with the logo of the march – United Kingdom, United Against Antisemitism.

Politicians from across the political spectrum, including former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, accompanied by his wife and baby, and well-known celebrities, journalists and media personalities marched with groups from the Iranian opposition, Christian Action Against Antisemitism, other religious groups, British and Israeli Jews, and many other people who wished to express their support for the Jewish community and their opposition to antisemitism.

The crowd at the rally following the march sang together, led by Chazan Jonny Turgel, and heard speeches from Gideon Falter, Chief Executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism and Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis. Robert Jenrick MP, Minister of State for the Home Office, spoke on behalf of the government, saying “There is one fundamental freedom we must reclaim: that is the freedom from fear. A Britain where Jewish people are afraid is not Britain.”

(Reuters/Susannah Ireland)

Peter Kyle MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, expressed support on behalf of the opposition, saying, “We cannot escape and cannot ignore the tsunami of antisemitism that has swept the country since October 7th. Your community will never stand alone.”

The Universities Minister Robert Halfon, MP, condemned antisemitism in universities, saying it is unacceptable that Jewish students feel afraid to express their Judaism.

The formal proceedings concluded with the crowd singing the national anthems of Israel and the U.K. There were many Union Jacks in evidence at the march, as well as Israeli flags, and the mood was both somber and celebratory. This was in deliberate contrast to the large pro-Palestinian marches, which have been seen on many weekends since October 7, at which there have been calls for jihad and intifada, and many arrests made for breaches of the police and antisemitic behaviour. The CAA conducted a poll recently which showed that 90% of British Jews would avoid travelling to a city center if a major anti-Israel demonstration were taking place there. Almost 70% of British Jews said that they are less likely to show visible signs of their Judaism now.  The march was a pushback by the CAA, and other organizations, to show the UK Jewish community that “they are not alone.”

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