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Jewish Youth Bands Withdraw from Israel London Rally, Fearing Arab Terrorists

June 30, 1981
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Two Jewish youth bands have refused to play at a mass pro-Israeli rally in London next Sunday because of fears of an Arab terrorist attack. The bands, run by the Jewish Lads and Girls Brigade, had been asked to play in Trafalgar Square during a meeting to protest against the European Economic Community (EEC) attempt to involve the Palestine Liberation Organization in the Middle East peace negotiations.

Although the Brigade’s bands have played at previous pro-Israel rallies, parents of some of the 60 drummers, buglers and trumpeters are understood to have refused to let their children play on this occasion for fear of an Arab-inspired attack. As a result, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, which is organizing the event, is seeking to hire a professional brass band.

At a press conference this morning, Board president Greville Janner said the Sunday rally was timed to coincide with the start of British Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington’s assumption of the presidency of the EEC Council of Ministers. It is intended to be the biggest mass meeting in the history of Britain’s half million-strong Jewish community. Its purpose is to let the government know about British Jewry’s “profound anguish at any failure to assist and maintain the best relations between Britain and Israel.”

Sir Immanuel Jakobovits, the Chief Rabbi of Britain, who will be one of the Sunday speakers, said that “any respectability conferred on a terrorist organization is as much a threat to Britain and Europe as to Israel.”

Another scheduled speaker, Conservative MP Sir Hugh Fraser, said it would be “the height of folly to give any comfort to the PLO, who are determined on aggression and the subjugation of Israel.” Neither Europe nor Britain have much positive influence in the Middle East and last year’s Venice initiative by the EEC has had only unfortunate results, he said.

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