British Jews urged to join Israelis at Sunday’s Defend Democracy protest

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British Jews urged to join Israelis at Sunday’s Defend Democracy protest

Ex-Conservative Party CEO Sir Mick Davis says it is 'right Israelis in London are protesting' and urges 'British Jews, friends and allies' to join them at this weekend's demo

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Protestors at earlier Defend Israeli Democracy protest in London
Protestors at earlier Defend Israeli Democracy protest in London

Sir Mick Davis has spoken out in support of a major Defend Israeli Democracy protest taking place in Parliament Square, Westminster, this Sunday.

The former Jewish Leadership Council chair and ex Conservative Party CEO, urged British Jews to join with Israelis now residing in the UK at this weekend’s hugely significant protest.

Sir Mick said: “This Israeli government is putting the democratic foundations of the State of Israel in existential danger.

“This is a crisis for Jews and friends of Israel everywhere. Israelis are speaking out and standing up to protect the Jewish, democratic soul of Israel.

“We stand with Israel in the face of external threats and now we must stand with Israel in the face of equally concerning threats from within. It is right that Israelis in London are protesting, and it is right that British Jews, our friends and allies should protest with them.’’

South African-born mining businessman and community leader Sir Mick Davis

The organisers of Sunday’s protest, which follows weeks of intense demos in Israel and around the world, have stressed the grassroots nature of their initiative in this country.

Dr Sharon Shochat, one of the leading organisers said: ‘When we announced the protest ten days ago, we were not sure what to expect from local British Jews who we understand have diverse views and emotions on Israel that sometimes stop them from speaking out.

“But the support we have received in the last week has been heart-warming.
“We must come together to speak up for Israel’s democracy and we hope to see as many as possible on Sunday.’’

Other Israeli expats involved in planning Sunday’s demo, which is scheduled to run from 2pm-4pm at the iconic Westminster location, include tech entrepreneurs, academics, security and creative professionals who are currently residing in the UK.

The full list of speakers confirmed for the event includes Labour MP Margaret Hodge, Rabbi Zahavit Shalev, Professor Yossi Mekelberg, Rabbi Deborah Blausten, Social Entrepreneur Mike Prashker, and Yachad CEO Hannah Weisfeld.

Labour’s Dame Margaret Hodge said: “I am looking forward to speaking in the Sunday rally organised by the Israeli community in London.

“It is important to stand alongside our Israeli friends as we work together to protect Israeli democracy.’’

Dame Margaret Hodge (centre) during the Labour Party conference in Brighton. She is flanked by JLM national chair, Mike Katz, and former MP Ruth Smeeth, its national vice-chair

Ex- Foreign Office Minister Lord David Triesman, has also expressed support for Sunday’s protest saying:”As a UK Foreign Minister, at the Dispatch Box or in any meeting anywhere, I was able to contrast Israeli democracy and respect for the rule of law with the grim, autocratic regimes that attacked Israel.

“This wasn’t simply Israel holding the moral high ground. It was a practical demonstration of what ethics can achieve. Israel’s government is losing that vital position and with it the international support needed for survival. How tragic. How absurd. History shows we can with care survive
everything except, perhaps, our own stupidity.’’

An earlier Defend Israel Democracy protest in London last month attracted around 300 Israeli expats, but Sunday’s event is expected to have far more people supported it.

To register for the event:

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