Bereaved Israeli and Palestinian families to march together in anti-hate vigil

Demonstrators march against the rise of antisemitism in the UK on Sunday
Demonstrators march against the rise of antisemitism in the UK on Sunday - SUSANNAH IRELAND/REUTERS

Bereaved Israeli and Palestinian families will march together as part of an anti-hate vigil on Sunday.

Relatives who have lost loved ones in the conflict between Israel and Palestine will warn that their bereavement cannot be used to promote hatred.

The event, called “Building Bridges, Together for Humanity” will take place in central London and involve thousands of lanterns being lit to commemorate those who have died in the conflict.

Since the violent attacks by Hamas against Israel on Oct 7, in which 1,200 people were killed and over 200 taken hostage, and Israel’s subsequent invasion of Gaza, there have been weekly marches calling for a ceasefire.

On Nov 11, about 300,000 people attended a pro-Palestinian march in the capital.

And on Sunday, about 100,000 people attended a march organised by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism in central London.

Some protesters on pro-Palestinian marches have held anti-Semitic and offensive placards.

Sunday's march against anti-Semitism organised by the volunteer-led charity Campaign Against Antisemitism at the Royal Courts of Justice in London
Sunday's march against anti-Semitism organised by the volunteer-led charity Campaign Against Antisemitism at the Royal Courts of Justice in London - JORDAN PETTITT/PA

On the pro-Palestinian march on Armistice Day, Jewish families leaving a synagogue were “targeted” by pro-Palestinian activists.

The vigil this weekend will speak out against both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia and is the first multifaith, mass event of its kind since the conflict began.

Magen Inon, whose parents were both killed by Hamas in the Oct 7 attacks, said: “It is unbelievable that while mourning the murder of both my parents, I have to witness extremists use our grief and tragedy to promote their hatred.

“This wouldn’t have been my parents’ wish. They had friends and colleagues from diverse backgrounds and always treated people with respect.”

He added that they would have wanted their grandchildren to grow up in a world based on values of “humanity and solidarity”.

Sunday's 'National Solidarity March against Antisemitism' came a day after the 'National March for Palestine', also in London
Sunday's 'National Solidarity March against Antisemitism' came a day after the 'National March for Palestine', also in London - PAUL GROVER

Hamze Awawde, a Palestinian peace activist who lives in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, said that the war had unleashed unimaginable “pain and suffering”.

“In the West Bank where my immediate family lives, we are deeply traumatised by the current and ongoing situation,” he said, adding that only last week his cousin had been shot in the leg in the town of Dura.

“But if anyone thinks stoking anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim hatred is the best response, you are wrong. We can only solve this conflict in the long term if we stop dehumanising each other.

“Please don’t make this conflict even worse by importing its tensions into the UK – instead people should channel their energies into lobbying the Government to support peace and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.”

Robi Damilen, whose son David was killed by a Palestinian sniper in 2002, will also be speaking on behalf of The Parents Circle-Families Forum (PCFF), a grassroots organisation made up of over 600 Palestinian and Israeli families working together.

Brendan Cox, co-founder of the Together coalition that is helping to organise the event, said; “This is the first mass event of its kind since the start of the conflict in Gaza and Israel.

“Our focus is on building bridges between communities, standing against anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim hate and protecting community relations in the UK.”

Julie Siddiqi, Muslim interfaith activist and one of the organisers, said: “People are sick of being told you are either with us or against us.

“It’s possible, in fact it’s normal, to feel sympathy with civilians no matter which side of the border. This vigil will give us the chance to share in our common humanity.”

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