LONDON (JTA) – Thousands of British supporters of Israel who attended weekend rallies were met by small groups of Jews against the war.
Demonstrators in London and Manchester on Sunday carried Israeli and British flags, and placards that read: “End to Hamas Terror. Peace to the People of Israel and Gaza.”
Chief Rabbi of Britain and Northern Ireland Sir Jonathan Sacks, Jewish community leaders, and Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor spoke to the London crowd. The event ended with the British and Israeli national anthems.
“In this square, we declare the basic, simple goal of the People of Israel: to be allowed to live in peace! Without violence, without fear and without terror!” Prosor told the cheering crowd at Trafalgar Square.
The Board of Deputies, the umbrella organization of the Jewish community in Britain, also announced a fundraiser in which the money donated will be divided between “the hospitals where victims on both sides of the current conflict have been treated” in Israel and Gaza.
A separate group protested against Israel’s military action in Gaza. People from the organization “Jews for Justice for Palestinians” carried placards reading “Jews against the war on Gaza.”
Across the road, separated by dozens of police officers, some on horseback, was the small anti-Israel demonstration, whose chanting at times turned anti-Semitic. Demonstrators included representatives of the Jewish, anti-Zionist, fervently Orthodox Neturei Karta sect, a regular fixture at anti-Israel demonstrations in the United Kingdom.