Activist who spoke at synagogue event denies supporting extremist Kahane

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Activist who spoke at synagogue event denies supporting extremist Kahane

Harry Markham, 20, insists he 'opposed much of what he promoted but I do agree with Kahane and others that survival is a moral imperative"

Jack Mendel is the former Online Editor at the Jewish News.

Harry Markham and an instagram post where he holds a book by Kahane
Harry Markham and an instagram post where he holds a book by Kahane

‘A young activist has denied supporting Jewish extremist Meir Kahane, ahead of an appearance at an event on Wednesday evening at Chigwell and Hainault United Synagogue.

Harry Markham, 20, rejected claims he shared the ideology of the convicted terrorist, who was banned from entering the UK in 1981.

This comes amid calls for Chigwell shul to cancel an event at which he was speaking, in an “interactive and engaging evening of Israel advocacy for sixth formers”, chaired day the shul’s rabbi Davis.

Ahead of his appearance, on social media, images of Markham holding up books by Kahane were circulated by a member of the shul, who said the event “must be cancelled”, while left-wing anti-occupation groups Na’amod and Yachad called on the synagogue to pull the plug.

It is understood that the Chigwell shul’s leadership has discussed claims made against Harry.

In a statement to Jewish News, Markham said: “I’m delighted it is going ahead. It is such a sad state of affairs when I can go and speak to a group of Evangelical Christians, and be welcomed in with open arms, but I can’t speak to a group of young Jews about Zionist pride without there being an argument in the community.

Instagram post by Harry Markham about Meir Kahane

To make it clear, I am not a Kahanist. Whilst I’ve read what he has to say, I oppose much of what he promoted. I passionately believe in the values of democracy, the rule of law and tolerance. However, I do agree with Kahane and others that survival is a moral imperative.”

In a column for Israel Hayom in July 2020, he appeared to argue for a one state solution – which some have suggested would involve taking away non-Jewish voters’ suffrage -, Markham Israel may “need to choose between democracy and survival. And it will, I believe, choose the moral imperative here, which is to survive.”

Yachad, which campaigns for a two state solution, said: “The Jewish community rightly calls out those who share platforms with people that express sympathy and support towards those that hold antisemitic opinions. We should apply that same concern to platforms given to those who hold in high esteem support for the racist ideology of Meir Kahane – a man whose extremism was outlawed in Israel.”

Na’amod said “Markham, whose support for Meir Kahane we revealed last year, is speaking at an event for children at a United Synagogue shul.”

It claimed ‘Kahanism is being normalised in our community. Everyone who opposes racism and violent extremism must speak out against this.”

  • An earlier version of this article stated Harry had “been sent to the World Zionist Congress by Zionist Federation UK“. The Zionist Federation UK’s attorney, Julian Hunt, has issued a statement saying this claim is “factually incorrect”. Markham has also rejected this claim to Jewish News. Na’amod has been approached for comment.


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