ON Sunday I joined more than 3,200 others to protest against anti-Semitism at a rally in Parliament Square.
Organised by the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA), this rally was a necessary event. A good-natured but solemn crowd listened to five speeches. Robert Rinder, the lawyer and TV personality, reminded the crowd that anti-Semitism can lead to the gates of Auschwitz if left unchecked. The actress and activist against anti-Semitism, Tracy Ann Oberman, gave an impassioned speech, outlining the vicious hatred she has experienced on social media. The historian Tom Holland spoke with an intellectualism which I appreciated, describing the medieval blood libel in Norwich. Trupti Patel, president of the Hindu Forum of Britain, gave a brief speech in which she stressed the communality between the Jewish and Hindu communities.
It was Fiyaz Mughal, founder of Muslims Against Antisemitism, who had the best speech of the day, narrating how British Jews helped Muslim immigrants, like his own family expelled by Idi Amin from Uganda. Mughal was the only speaker with the courage to call out Islamists for their hatred of Jews.
Although the CAA framed the rally as non-political it was impossible to ignore the reason why we were all there: the anti-Semitism unleashed by Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour cohorts. Anti-Semitism is a political issue and Labour should have been called out on their role in this. The spirit of the rally was undermined by this glaring omission, making it a subdued and incongruous affair. A friend remarked that it was like holding a demonstration against the Nazi Party in 1930s Germany without mentioning Adolf Hitler.
Corbyn was recently given the title of the worst anti-Semite in the world by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre. Facing tough competition, Corbyn battled through to be named as the biggest global threat to Jews. Not that this bothers any of his supporters.
Momentum activists were instructed by the Labour politburo to call local radio stations while the rally was being held and criticise it as an ‘attack on the party’.
Instead of bowing their heads in shame for their role in causing so much fear among British Jews, they instead doubled down on their baiting.
But none of this could dampen the feeling of standing with a group of people bound together by faith and a collective need to gather and shout ‘no more’.
Speeches, an obligatory part of any rally, are quickly forgotten. What is remembered are the emotions of the day. Many of us met for the first time after knowing each other for years on social media. This joyful meeting of people who had never spoken to each other was the best part of the rally. As soon as we recognised each other’s avatars we all hugged, happy to be united with like-minded souls who fight the good fight, often anonymously and without the recognition they so deserve.
But it’s the non-Jewish supporters that I reserve my greatest accolade for. They stood next to us Jews at the rally, in the mud and cold, offering a reassuring sense of solidarity. Fighting anti-Semitism with such bravery when they don’t have to, they often place themselves at great risk. These are moral and decent people and they give me hope. They are my heroes.
After the rally some of us went to a pub where reality came hurtling towards us in the form of a grumpy young barmaid. Several rally attendees had put stickers with the words ‘Corbyn is a racist endeavour’ and ‘#NeverCorbyn’ on their clothes, and scattered them on to tables without sticking them down. The barmaid snatched them off with a scowl and even told one of us that if she wanted to eat in the dining room she would have to remove her stickers as these were ‘anti-Corbyn’. Her words were a grim reminder that despite our show of defiance under the shadow of the Mother of Parliaments, anti-Semitism is now fully mainstreamed.
Jews felt relatively safe in Britain until Corbyn and his mob took over Labour. Even if the Tories have won a majority in yesterday’s election, Labour’s hatred of Jews won’t suddenly dissipate. That the rally had to be held at all is indicative of a deep fault line spreading across the country. If not stopped, it will destroy us all.