Demonstrators face off as Netanyahu arrives in Downing Street
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Demonstrators face off as Netanyahu arrives in Downing Street

Protesters gathered in Whitehall as visiting Israeli leader meets UK Prime Minister Theresa May for the first time

Justin Cohen is the News Editor at the Jewish News

Hundreds of pro and anti-Israel people demonstrated opposite Downing Street this morning as Benjamin Netanyahu arrived for talks with Theresa May.

Carrying placards proclaiming ‘Free Palestine’ and calling for the Israeli prime minister to be taken to The Hague, the crowds protesting against Netanyahu swelled to around 300 by the time the PM’s convoy arrived. More than 150 joined the counter-demonstration, which was organised by the Zionist Federation.

At one point, the larger demo chanted ‘from the river to the sea’ – seen by israel’s supporters as a call for the Jewish state’s destruction – as the country’s supporters sang ‘Am Yisrael Chai’ – ‘the people of Israel live’.

“Regardless of politics, we are here to ensure the relationship continues to thrive and the leaders of the two countries must be able to meet,” said ZF director Arieh Miller.

“At a moment the UK needs to build strong economic relationships across the world and particularly with one in seven drugs in the NHS coming from Israel, it’s as important as ever to build those ties. With cybercrime being a growing issue and Israel leading in combating it, the UK must be able to learn from the experts in its closest ally in the Middle East.”

Others addressing the crowds included Israel Britain Alliance’s Michael McCann, Luke Akehurst of We Believe in Israel and Board of Deputies president Jonathan Arkush.

He said: “I’m very pleased such a large crowd has come in the middle of a working day to welcome Netanyahu . As I just told an Iranian media outlet this morning, he is the democratically elected leader of the UK’s most dependable ally in the middle East.” Directly addressing the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which organised the main demo, he decried the lack of freedoms for gays and trade unions within the Palestinian Territories.

A large police presence and barriers separated the two demonstrations and kept them well away from the gates of Downing Street.

One speaker addressing the group condemning Netanyahu insisted that Israel was not interested in international law and said the crowd demanded a British leader who would raise the issue of settlements with her Israeli counterpart – following several new announcements on construction since the inauguration of Donald Trump.

Prominent gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell told Jewish News he joined the PSC demo because he wanted to promote a negotiated settlement with security for Israel and justice for the Palestinians.

He added: “We are very worried that the new settlements further undermine prospects for peace. We want Theresa May to tell Benjamin Netanyahu hat Britain will not conduct any new trade while while there are new and expanded settlements.”

There was no sign of any Hezbollah flags as there were when Netanyahu last visited Number 10 two years ago.

But one demonstrator carried a banner branding Netanyahu a “Nazi murderer’. She told Jewish News’ reporter to ‘f*** off’ after being asked for a comment, before offering an approving thumbs up to a group of Neturei Karta protesters as she joined the demo.

One demonstrator carries a banner branding Netanyahu a "Nazi murderer'. She told Jewish News' reporter to 'f*** off' after being asked for a comment, before offering an approving thumbs up to a group of Neturei Karta protesters as she joined the demo.
One demonstrator carries a banner branding Netanyahu a “Nazi murderer’. She told Jewish News’ reporter to ‘f*** off’ after being asked for a comment, before offering an approving thumbs up to a group of Neturei Karta protesters as she joined the demo.

 

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments