Jewish group warns ‘extremists not welcome’ at Al Quds Day counter-demo

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Jewish group warns ‘extremists not welcome’ at Al Quds Day counter-demo

Zionist Federation warns far-right and neo-Nazi groups may try to join annual London protest during which Hezbollah flags fly

A Hezbollah flag at the Al-Quds Day parade in 2016  (Photo credit: Rick Findler/PA Wire)
A Hezbollah flag at the Al-Quds Day parade in 2016 (Photo credit: Rick Findler/PA Wire)

Jewish groups have warned supporters to be wary of confusion at a counter-demonstration against an annual pro-Palestinian rally in central London on Sunday, advising that far-right and neo-Nazi groups planned to do the same.

The Zionist Federation, which has organised the counter demonstration to the Al-Quds Day March, said “extremist” groups were “not welcome” by the Jewish community, even though the far-right activists also plan to oppose the Al-Quds Day marchers.

“Whilst we are proud to stand against this hate, we are acutely aware that elements of the far-right and neo-Nazi groups have been encouraging their members and supporters to also rally against the Al-Quds Day march,” the ZF said in a statement.

“Let us be clear: the ZF, as well as our partners, do not support, encourage or condone any far-right or neo-Nazi groups or messages, either from outside our community or inside it.”

The organisation said it had been trying to arrange a “separate area for those on the far-right to demonstrate in and to keep them well away from the ZF demonstration,” but that the police had said this “may not be possible”.

In reference to some Al-Quds Day marchers having previously waved the yellow flag of Hezbollah, it added: “When countering extremists in the form of Hezbollah supporters, we are clear that extremism is not welcome within our demonstration… Hatred and intolerance have no place on the streets of London.”

Other groups have warned the Home Secretary that the march had all the makings of a “perfect storm,” with passions inflamed by the recent jailing of far-right leader Tommy Robinson, and by Middle East sabre-rattling between Iran and Israel.

Police have allowed the annual march to go ahead, and confirmed this week that Hezbollah flags could legally be waved, as the Government only proscribes the military wing, not the political wing. Both elements share the same flag.

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