London Jews rally for immediate cease-fire in Gaza
Hundreds of Jews gathered Sunday at London's Victoria Embankment Park in response to a call from Na'amod: British Jews Against Occupation.
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The demonstrators demanded an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, calling for a resolution of the Israel-Hamas conflict, a hostage exchange and an end to the siege imposed by Israel on the Palestinian enclave.
Carrying banners bearing slogans such as "Jews are against genocide," "End the occupation" and "This Jew is for a cease-fire," they expressed their dissent in both English and Hebrew.
The demonstration, which included people from various backgrounds, highlighted a diverse range of voices within the Jewish community.
- 'Zionism harmful to all Jews'
"I'm not here to call for a cease-fire. Whenever it comes, it will be too late," said Jeffrey Newman, a rabbi from the Finchley Reform Synagogue, addressing the crowd.
"I am also not making a political speech at all. It is an outrage, a desecration of God's name, that we should have to voice the need for humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza, and as a fierce critic myself since 1967 of Israel's governments and especially of the occupation," he added.
"What God demands of us is to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk in humility with God," he added.
Green Party Deputy Leader Zack Polanski, who shares Jewish heritage, addressed the crowd, emphasizing the cycle of violence.
"Violence begets more violence. We are here to say stop the violence," said Polanski.
"Zionism is harmful to all Jews. Zionism is built around the misconstruction of what safety means. No Jew is safe in Israel when there is apartheid. No Jew is safe anywhere in the world when there is a separatist state that claims that they are there for our safety. Zionism is harmful to all Jews," one protestor told Anadolu.
Another demonstrator said "Palestine is the grammar of our liberation and that what's happening in Palestine is not separate from what's happening in other places around the world."
"And it's emblematic of the kind of false compromises that colonialism has made throughout history, which has tried to make the value of life a zero sum game," he added.
The demonstrators also observed a moment of silence to honor both Israelis and Palestinians who have lost their lives since Oct. 7.
The death toll in Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7 has reached 13,000, including over 5,500 children and 3,500 women, the media office in the besieged enclave said on Sunday.
The number of injuries has exceeded 30,000, with more than 75% of them being children and women, it said in a statement.
The administration said the number of missing persons crossed 6,000, with most of them suspected of lying under the rubble of fallen buildings.
Thousands of buildings, including hospitals, mosques and churches, have either been damaged or destroyed in Israel’s relentless strikes on Gaza.
An Israeli blockade has also cut Gaza off from fuel, electricity and water supplies and reduced aid deliveries to a trickle.
Tel Aviv has rejected growing calls for a cease-fire until the release of hostages held by the Palestinian group Hamas.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday that “we will only agree to a temporary cease-fire and only in exchange for the return of our hostages.”