Tens of thousands of people participated in a demonstration against antisemitism in the streets of London on Sunday, against the backdrop of the increase in hateful incidents against Jews since the start of Israel's war against Hamas. The protesters waved Israeli and British flags and held signs that read “Shoulder to shoulder with British Jews," "Zero tolerance for antisemites," and "Never again is now." Some signs showed images of Israeli captives held by Hamas, and some participants chanted in Hebrew, while others called, "Bring them home."
"I’m here to support my Jewish community and I think we must stand up for ourselves, otherwise if we won't stand for ourselves who will, you know?" said Avraham El-Hay, a student who participated in the protest. "I want this march to achieve that people understand there is no place for racism in this country," said another participant, travel agent Kate Worth. "We are all equal. And it's absolutely unacceptable what is happening right now for Jewish people."
According to local police estimates, about 50,000 people attended the demonstration. Other sources, including UK-based news outlet Daily Mail, reported that 100,000 people attended. The organizers presented the protest as the largest one held against antisemitism in London since 1936. Among the participants was former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who recently visited Israel to express his solidarity after Hamas' October 7 terror attack. Also among those in the crowds were the UK's Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and senior British government officials.
The Daily Mail further noted that employees of the British public broadcast channel BBC attended that rally despite the “ban” on its Jewish workers attending in “large proportion.” According to a source quoted by the news outlet, employees wanted to attend the rally over frustration that BBC News has been “romanticizing Hamas and its supporters.”
Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters at the rally: " '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.
“Since October 7, there has been a very peculiar response from many parts of the world including, I'm sad to say, in London. What we've seen is the re-emergence of antisemitism and the failure to focus on the appalling terroristic events of Hamas.”
“Whatever the rights and wrongs of what Israel has done, or is doing, I think that the antisemitism we have seen in some of the marches around Europe has really confirmed for me the absolutely human necessity for Israel to exist,” he added.
Gideon Falter, CEO of Campaign Against Antisemitism, who participated in the demonstration, noted that the protest came after weeks in which pro-Palestinian protests turned London into, in effect, a "no-go zone for Jews."
He expressed shock at the sharp rise in the number of antisemitic events across the UK and criticized, among other things, posters displayed at pro-Palestinian demonstrations with the Star of David thrown into the trash, accompanied by the slogan: "Please keep the world clean."
Since the start of the war, Europe has seen a sharp increase in the rate of antisemitic incidents. From October 1 to November 1, London’s Metropolitan Police received 554 reports of antisemitic attacks, an increase of over 10 times compared to the same period year-on-year when 44 such reports were recorded.
The demonstration in London took place after another anti-Israel protest marched in the city last week, attended by about 45,000 people. Earlier in November, pro-Palestinian supporters held a massive demonstration in the city with around 300,000 participants.
During the pro-Palestinian protests, the police documented and identified dozens of demonstrators expressing support for terrorism and displaying antisemitic and racist symbols. Many of them were subsequently arrested with the help of the public.