Menu JTA Search

25,000 British Jews Hold Rally to Condemn Britain’s Pro-arab Policy and the Eec

A huge rally of Jews from all parts of Britain was held today in central London to condemn the pro-Arab policy of Britain and the European Economic Community (EEC). More than 25,000 people, from as far away as Dundee in Scot-

land and Plymouth in southwest England, packed Trafalgar Square to hear politicians, spiritual leaders and show business personalities reject the EEC demand that the Palestine Liberation Organization be involved in a Middle East settlement.

It was one of the biggest meetings held in Trafalgar Square in recent years and it was the biggest ever rally organized by Britain’s 400,000-strong Jewish community.

The theme of the rally, organized by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Zionist Federation, was “No to the PLO.” A massive portrait of PLO chairman Yasir Arafat was propped against the pedestal of Nelson’s column, Trafalgar Square’s monument which dominates the London skyline. It was captioned: “Wanted for Murder.”

CARRINGTON UNDER FIRE

Most speakers aimed their remarks at Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington, president of the EEC Council of Ministers, and who has said he would be ready to meet Arafat before the end of the year.

Peter Shore, who until recently was Labor’s foreign affairs spokesman, said Carrington should not be so foolish as to believe that anyone regarded Britain or the EEC as an impartial mediator in the Middle East. Urging Carrington to “tear up the Venice document,” Shore said he should back the Camp David peace program. The only initiative the Europeans should take was to “stop destabilizing the Middle East by their disgusting competition in arms supplies to the area,” he added.

Sir Immanuel Jakobovits, the Chief Rabbi, set the tone by exclaiming: “Any recognition of the PLO or negotiations with it are a betrayal of civilization.” He was followed in similar vein by Sir Hugh Fraser, MP, chairman of the Conservative Friends of Israel, Shore, shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, and 94-year-old Lord Shinwell.

At the end of the meeting Greville Janner, MP, president of the Board of Deputies, led a deputation of the main speakers to the Foreign Office with a resolution condemning the EEC’s Venice declaration of June 1980 which called for associating the PLO with the Mideast peace process.

VENICE DECLARATION CONDEMNED

Sir Hugh, recounting the violence which had swept the Middle East’s Moslem countries in the past year, called the Venice declaration “a gondola of disaster that is sinking without trace.” Accusing the PLO of being bent on the genocide of Israel, Sir Hugh also castigated politicians and journalists in the West who had been “bribed” by the PLO. “Their hands are covered with the filth of sacrilege,” Sir Hugh said.

Shinwell delighted the mass crowd by saying Jews were “sick and tired of persecution.” His advice to Israel was “don’t yield an inch. You get nothing by being weak.”

Actor Chaim Topol, the only Israeli speaker, said that Lebanese democracy had been destroyed by the PLO. “Do you wish for us what happened to Lebanon?” he asked.

The hour-long rally concluded with a tape recording of Carrington saying the PLO was not a terrorist organization followed by Arafat saying: “The destruction of Israel is the goal of our struggle.”

NEXT STORY