In every generation: UK Global March to Jerusalem marchers seek Palestine Jew-free ‘from river to the sea’

The following essay was written by Sharon Klaff , a founding member of pro-Israel activist group Campaign4Truth. (A shortened version of this appeared in The JC)

The Global March on Jerusalem demonstration took place last Friday evening opposite the Israeli Embassy in London. About 15-20 Israelsupporters turned up, the usual stalwarts who put themselves on the line to face a barrage of abuse from the bully boys of the PSC.  It is hardly something Jewish organisations across the world would not have in their diaries, so it was a surprise to hear that the Zionist Federation had an urgent engagement in Hungary – and goodness knows what happened to all the other pundits who put themselves about.

So there we were, without a megaphone and a few of our Christian friends who had at least brought some flags, placards and banners. One little girl on her way home from school asked her mother to stop by to share with us her hurt at the vile bigotry shooting over from across the barriers, as though they were on the front line launching rockets into Sderot or Be’ersheva. She was sobbing as she bore witness to this hatred, whilst the child of a PSC supporter  was thrust onto their podium, chanting venomous slogans over a huge megaphone, the woman beside her, presumably her mother, looking very pleased at this act of child abuse.

They arrived in their hundreds with their usual attire, wearing their tourist scarves from Jerusalem, hoisting flags showing all of Israel asPalestine – Arab Palestine, a land free of Jews according to the new Hamas-Fatah alliance  leader Mahmoud Abbas. Tribal chants “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” cut through any pretence of peaceful desires. They vaunted their latest slogan accusing Israel of making Jerusalem Jewish, using the Nazi term Judaising, as though the Jews have no connection to the City of David, as though their mosque is not built atop the Jewish Temple, as though they were the historical heirs to Jerusalem (a notion they only cottoned on to after the Arab uprising in 1987), as though their Western supporters never did RE at school learning about Jerusalem as the capital city of the Jews.

This annual assault takes place each year around Pesach, time of year when we recount at the Seder table how the Jewish nation crossed the desert out of slavery to freedom; when we read how in each generation our enemies will return in an attempt to destroy us; when we learn to ask questions. For two thousand years we prayed as strangers in foreign lands to meet “Next Year in Jerusalem”, our capital city denied us by our enemies.  In her song “Jerusalem of Gold”  (1967) Naomi Shemer celebrates every Jewish person’s yearning for Jerusalem and its return to the Jewish people as its capital city. Now they demand it as their own, stealing our history for themselves.

The enemy of this generation had amassed across the barrier, hurling abuse, calling for our demise, using the heil Hitler salute, conversely accusing us of being Nazis, an insult they know digs deep into the consciousness of all Jews.  In each generation those who will our demise operate in a different way, use different weapons, arrive in a different guise; yet they are the same. We need to continue to ask questions, to listen and to bear witness so that never again means exactly that – NEVER AGAIN.

As it was Shabbat we decided to light Shabbat candles and say some prayers. It was a poignant moment, the symbol of light over dark, eternal love over hatred – two women with two small candles; light and hope for a future standing proud against the anger and hatred.

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