Campaigners launch petition to ban Al Quds Day parade
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Campaigners launch petition to ban Al Quds Day parade

The annual anti-Israel protest courted controversy with Hezbollah flags spotted at the parade in previous years

A Hezbollah flag at the Al-Quds Day parade in 2016  (Photo credit: Rick Findler/PA Wire)
A Hezbollah flag at the Al-Quds Day parade in 2016 (Photo credit: Rick Findler/PA Wire)

The Zionist Federation has launched a petition to ban Al Quds Day in the UK over concerns the annual anti-Israel protest “openly promotes antisemitism”.

The petition, which has collected over 4,000 signatures since last month, claims the event fosters “extremist anti-Jewish, anti-Israel and anti-Western ideologies.”

The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), the organisation that runs the annual event, previously denied accusations of antisemitism linked to the parade.

But the event courted controversy in recent years. Hezbollah flags were spotted at previous parades, until it was proscribed in its entirety this year, with public support for Hezbollah now incurring a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

The march’s leader Nazim Ali drew headlines when he pinned responsibility for the Grenfell Tower fire on Israel supporters in 2017. “Some of the biggest corporations who are supporting the Conservative Party are Zionists,” he said. “They are responsible for the murder in Grenfell.”

More recently, a speaker was filmed at this year’s parade in June, accusing Israel of concocting false accusations of antisemitism to “smear” pro-Palestine activists.  The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s Mick Napier told protesters the Israeli embassy in London runs “workshops around the country where all the local zios get together.”

London Mayoral Candidate Shaun Bailey backed the proposed ban, telling JN: “I have long believed that the Al Quds Day March should be banned. When elected Mayor, I would immediately stop it taking place.

“As someone who has been on the receiving end of racist abuse, I fully understand prejudice and racism. It is, therefore, self-evident to me, that an event that seeks to delegitimize the right of an entire country to exist is racist. We should be calling Al-Quds day out for what it is – an antisemitic endeavour.”

A spokesperson for London’s Sadiq Khan revealed the Mayor does not have the power to ban the march.

But the spokesperson added: “The Mayor has been clear that antisemitism and hate crime has no place whatsoever in our city or in our society. He wrote to both the previous Home Secretaries to raise his deep concerns about the support shown for Hezbollah at the annual Al Quds march in London. Sadiq believes that banning the political wing was long overdue and that the new law must be respected.”

The IHRC was contacted for comment.

 

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