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‘Zero tolerance for antisemitism’ - Tens of thousands march on Sunday against antisemitism in London

Jewish BBC workers reportedly defied warning not to attend rally

Protesters wave flags and hold placards by the Parliament in London during the demonstration against antisemitism, Nov. 26, 2023. (Photo: Krisztian Elek/SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

Tens of thousands of people attended a march against antisemitism in London on Sunday. Some participants were seen holding signs that read: “Zero tolerance for antisemitism.”

The event was organized by Campaign Against Antisemitism after repeated pro-Palestinian rallies in the capital city, which were seen as giving rise to increasing antisemitic incidents.

Various media outlets estimated the number of participants as somewhere between 60,000-100,000.

British Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis told the crowd: “Since October 7, we have witnessed here in the UK, an alarming rise of antisemitism, but we will not be intimidated. We call for a strengthening of community cohesion and we will forever be proud to champion the finest of British values.” 

Mirvis also said people need to be clear that antisemitism is “Jew hatred”. 

CEO of Campaign Against Antisemitism Gideon Falter spoke about the “appalling” scenes at previous pro-Palestinian rallies. 

“Demonstrations marched through our cities, marched through our capital, where people glorify terrorism, where people incite racism against Jews. And indeed, as we saw yesterday, yet again, carrying placards showing a Star of David thrown in the bin with a caption that says ‘please keep the world clean’, messaging that would not have been out of place in 1930s Germany, it is appalling,” Falter said

Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who attended the march, told GB News, “It's very sad that this march has to take place at all. What we're all doing here is showing solidarity with Jewish people, and that is necessary.” 

Johnson said the march wasn’t about Israel’s right or wrong behavior, but about the dangerous level of antisemitism, which he said demonstrates the need for a Jewish nation. 

“Whatever the rights and wrongs of what Israel has done, or is doing, I think that the antisemitism that we’ve seen in some of these marches around western Europe and further afield has really confirmed for me the absolute necessity, the human necessity, for Israel to exist.” 

Unlike rallies against the war in Gaza, there were no reported incidents of violence at the march, however, two people were arrested, including media personality Tommy Robinson, who was warned not to attend the rally for fear of causing a disturbance. 

In addition, British news site The Daily Mail reported that several Jewish BBC staff members were attending the rally despite being warned not to attend last week. 

The BBC sent a memo to employees stating that “BBC News and Current Affairs staff and some Factual staff, as set out in the Guidelines, should not participate in public demonstrations or gatherings about controversial issues.” 

One BBC staffer told The Daily Mail: “Every Jewish member of staff I know thinks it's a deplorable decision and none of them were willing to comply with it.” 

Jewish staff accused the BBC network of having a double standard, saying that other staff members had attended pro-Palestinian rallies and “are happy to talk about it at work.” 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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