Al-Quds virus returning to London after two year pandemic hiatus

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Al-Quds virus returning to London after two year pandemic hiatus

Supporters say demonstration aims to highlight Palestinian rights but participants have flown terror flags and one speaker even blamed “Zionists” for the Grenfell Tower fire.

A Hezbollah flag during the Al-Quds rally in London in 2016 (Photo credit: Steve Winston)
A Hezbollah flag during the Al-Quds rally in London in 2016 (Photo credit: Steve Winston)

Jewish groups have said it is “disturbing” that the annual anti-Israel al-Quds Day demonstration is returning to London’s streets later this month with organisers issuing a call to arms for Sunday 24 April.

Supporters say it aims to highlight Palestinian rights and protest against Israeli settlers, but in recent years participants have flown terror group flags, and one of its speakers even blamed “Zionists” for the Grenfell Tower fire.

The next demo is being planned by the Wembley-based Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), a non-governmental organisation with special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

On Tuesday, the IHRC said the march – from the Home Office to Downing Street – was “back due to popular demand”. Demonstrators are calling for “an end to the Zionist apartheid regime’s atrocities and occupation of Palestine”.

It claimed that the IDF “continues to terrorise Palestinian civilians, assassinating and arresting those who resist” and that “mainstream narratives relating to Israel are shifting… in particular, the term ‘apartheid’ is now widely being employed”.

The IHRC statement said the al-Quds Day parade was a “chance to counter the violent extremism of the Zionist ideology”, adding that Israel “often escalates its attacks” during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

A spokesman for the Community Security Trust, a charity that seeks to protect the Jewish community from antisemitism, said the rally had “long been one of the most extreme anti-Israel rallies in the UK”, and that although the flying of Hezbollah flags was now banned, “the extremism that lies behind them has not gone away”.

He added: “Thankfully al-Quds Day attracts little support beyond a clique of pro-Iranian activists, but it is a disturbing sight nonetheless, and we hope the police will be closely monitoring any flags, placards, speeches and chanting that goes on.”

The IHRC called on people to fly the Palestinian flag outside their homes and boycott dates from Israel during Ramadan, in which religious Muslims often close the fast by consuming the dried fruit.

Jewish News has contacted the IHRC for comment.

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