Protests against right-wing Israeli speaking in Hendon

By Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods

A quiet residential street in northwest London witnessed unusual scenes on Tuesday (May 11) as orthodox Jews opposed to Israeli claims of sovereignty over Jerusalem clashed with supporters of a member of the hard-line Israeli government.

Benny Begin, founder of the extreme right Herut current in Israeli politics, was the keynote speaker at the Hendon United Synagogue where a group of Zionist organisations were celebrating Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem.

According to Begin, “Jerusalem must remain under the exclusive sovereignty of the State of Israel… We must be constantly on the alert against ideas of internationalisation.”

This unilateral Israeli annexation is marked on May 12 by a national holiday, Yom Yerushalayim, but is recognised by no serious nation. Israel’s capital is Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem.

Members of Naturei Carta at the protest

Members of Naturei Carta at the protest

About 20 members of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-BIG), the International Solidarity Movement, Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine and the anti-Zionist rabbis of Neturei Karta, mounted a vigil outside the synagogue to defend equal access for people of all faiths to the holy city.

They were among 24 Jewish, Christian, Muslim and other organisations who issued a protest statement in advance of the meeting.

“Disgracefully, this deeply divisive, political event is organised in the form of a religious service,” said Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, one of the protest organisers.

“Our anger is directed not against Jews or Judaism, but against an Israeli government that glorifies Israel’s illegal annexation of East Jerusalem and revels in the ethnic cleansing of the city. “