Communal and religious leaders have launched an urgent campaign against a planned anti-Jewish protest in Golders Green, writes Jack Mendel
Board of Deputies president Jonathan Arkush, chair of the London Jewish Forum Adrian Cohen, London Assembly Member for Barnet Andrew Dismore and local MP Mike Freer joined faith leaders including Senior Reform Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner at the launch of Golders Green Together on Monday.
Organised by the London Jewish Forum, anti-Racism organisation HOPE Not Hate and the Board of Deputies, the event took place in front of the war memorial in Golders Green.
The campaign opposes a demonstration “against Jewish privilege” planned for Golders Green – the heartland of the community – on the first Shabbat in July. Police say they are powerless to stop the event as it will be a static demonstration. Among those thought to be involved in organising the rally – which follows a similar, though unsuccessful event in Stamford Hill in April – is right-wing group New Dawn.
Arkush told Jewish News: “This send a message to the community that the people behind this provocative demonstration in Golders Green are bigots and society rejects their bigotry, their racism, their prejudice. Jews are not being left to fight anti-Semitism alone.”
Freer called the event “heartening” – adding that it was “good to see so many people from different walks of life, different faiths, different communities, uniting for a common cause”.
Dismore branded the planned demonstration “outrageous”. He added: “This is the start of showing the far right that they will not divide Golders Green. They will not be able to pit one community against another.”
He also condemned the neo-Nazi protest’s planned location next to the war memorial, calling it “an insult to thousands of people who gave their lives in the war for freedom”.
London Jewish Forum chair Adrian Cohen said: “This underlines the enthusiastic spirit with which we will aim to ensure the voice of Golders Green’s diverse community is heard. We’re very pleased to have come together with HOPE Not Hate, which has a strong record of anti-fascist, anti-racist activity”.
Also present was Senior Rabbi at the Movement for Reform Judaism, Laura Janner-Klausner. She said: “This challenges the assumptions that people of different faiths or races have to live in conflict. We believe we live together in harmony in a diverse, creative and positive Britain.”
Mitzah Day founder and interfaith activist Laura Marks added: “We want our children to grow up in safe societies where everyone is valued for who they are.”
HOPE not hate told Jewish News: “We had Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Christian leaders standing alongside their Jewish brothers and sisters. There was a real energy present, that we will now use to build a permanent benefit for the whole community.