Protest condemns cold-blooded killing

Videos showing Israeli snipers in a carefully planned exercise shooting unarmed Palestinian protesters several hundred yards from the separation fence they were protesting against, including those clearly running away from it shocked the world. So I was not surprised to see a large crowd at the protest at Downing St, even though it was on a Monday evening, seldom the best time for demonstrations.

Nor was it any surprise that quite a few of those at the protest, including some of the speakers were Jewish, although the voices of those opposed to the Israeli government seldom get much time on our mass media, who often seem to accept the views of some Zionists that any criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic.

Before the Second World War, historians (including Jewish historians) tell  us that Zionism wasn’t particularly widely accepted among the Jewish community, and there are still those who condemn it on religious grounds as well as those who criticise the actions of the Israeli state on political and humanitarian grounds.

I’ve photographed many pro-Palestinian protests over the years, and almost all have included Jewish protesters, and the protesters have always been clear that the protests were against the actions of the Israeli state and Zionism and were not against Jews. When people have on a few occasions expressed anti-Semitic opinions it has always been challenged, and  has been made clear that these are not acceptable, and people have been asked to leave. But today – as on almost every such protest – there were no such views.

After speeches at Downing St, the protesters marched to protest in Old Palace Yard, inf front of Parliament. They were calling for and end to the killing and an end to UK arms sales to Israel.

Here there were more speeches, and those killed were remembered, with their names being read out. Among the Palestinians taking part in the protest were some holding up the keys to their family homes in Palestine, which they were forced to leave in 1948.

A few months earlier, some celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, which was important in paving the way for the setting up of a state of Israel:

Dear Lord Rothschild,

I have much pleasure in conveying to you. on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet

His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.


Arthur James Balfour

Unfortunately although the “national home for the Jewish people” has been established, the “the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”  have clearly been and continue to be subject to extreme prejudice. Including being shot for taking part in peaceful protest for those civil rights.

More pictures at: Free Palestine, Stop Arming Israel

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