Thousands of protesters marched through central London on Sunday in solidarity with Palestinians under attack by the Israeli regime.
The annual Al Quds Day march, organised by the Islamic Human Rights Commission, comes at a time when Masjid al Aqsa and Gaza have been at the centre of Israeli attacks against Palestinians since the beginning of Ramadan.
At least 19 Palestinians have been killed so far in the violence and fears remain that a wider conflict could break out as fighters in Gaza threaten retaliation.
As well as Muslims, protestors included Jewish anti-Zionists and non Muslims. They marched from the Home Office to Downing Street where speeches took place.
One protester at the march said: “The Al Quds demonstration is in support of the Palestinians in their fight against Zionism. Zionism is a totally different philosophy to Judaism. Zionism is a false secular philosophy, Judaism is an age old religion. Being against Zionism is being against falsehood, nothing to do with antisemitism at all.”
Another said: “The very fact that the protesters are being criminalised and there are efforts to ban it speaks volumes. They don’t want concepts of resistance to be spoken about. If you realised at other demos there’s an emphasis on ‘1234 occupation no more’ but not enough on ‘5678 Israel is a terrorist state.’ We have solidarity with the oppressed Palestinians, we call out their victimhood but we also call out the aggressor.”
Attempts have been made by pro-Israel groups to ban the rally, with critics citing antisemitism.
In an article published last week The Jewish News called the annual Al-Quds Day demonstration “a virus returning to London after a two-year hiatus.”
The publication quoted the Community Security Trust saying the Al-Quds Day rally has “long been one of the most extreme anti-Israel rallies in the UK.”
In 2017 the far-right terrorist Darren Osborne, who had been incited by online articles against Muslims, failed to breach the police cordon to attack demonstrators at the Al Quds march and changed his choice of target to Muslim worshippers at Finsbury Park Mosque.
IHRC chair Massoud Shadjareh said: “The racism of the Zionists should reinforce our determination to challenge the apartheid state of Israel and should inspire us to work harder to end the system of racial domination. Zionists regularly refer to Palestinians as viruses and vermin so it is not surprising to see such language being transported to the UK and used against young innocent men, women and children.”