Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of London on Sunday, marching for the annual al-Quds Day. The protest, held on the last Friday of Ramadan, featured not only pro-Palestinian signs but anti-Semitic messages as well.
While the demonstration was conducted largely without violence, participants sported numerous Hezbollah flags, and signs, some of which said “Zionism=Racism” and “Boycott Israel.” Other chants during the day included calls to annihilate the Jewish State and that Zionists were responsible for the recent Grenfell apartment fire that left 79 dead.
The pro-Iranian Islamic Human Rights Council (IHRC), a nonprofit based in the UK, arranged the event, which it describes as uniting “for the freedom of the oppressed in Palestine and beyond.” Al-Quds Day was originally established in 1979, by then-Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini after he gained power through the revolution.
Pro-Israel advocates, including some Muslims, have criticized the event for its terrorist-sympathetic message. British radio commentator and political analyst, Maajid Nawaz, says “everyday British Muslims [are] expected to bear the brunt of public anger,” when their co-religionists speak out in support of terrorist groups, which should be outlawed in any event. He continued saying that the government was too interested in political correctness. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) also released a brief of the event and condemned its Anti-Semitic message.
The Al-Quds Day event came amid recent political gains made by Jeremy Corbyn, the far-left leader of the Britain’s Labor Party, who has a history of embracing terrorist organizations. In 2012, Jeremy Corbyn spoke at the Al-Quds Day protest in front of a Hezbollah flag. This year, however, he was not in attendance even though the protesters praised him over the loudspeaker. Corbyn has not only called for the UK to place an arms embargo against Israel but also characterized Hamas and Hezbollah supporters as “friends.”
Corbyn’s opponent, Prime Minister Thea May recently made statements criticizing support of terrorist groups and political correctness. In her June 3rd address to the nation, she said there is “far too much tolerance for extremism” in the United Kingdom.