Solidarity and anger expressed at ‘Together Against Antisemitism’ rally

“If Corbyn gets beaten, who will be blamed? The Jews,” Simon Cobbs of Sussex Friends of Israel told The Jerusalem Post.

Jews and non-Jews gather in solidarity to protest against Antisemitism at Parliament Square in London on Sunday (photo credit: SARKIS ZERONIAN)
Jews and non-Jews gather in solidarity to protest against Antisemitism at Parliament Square in London on Sunday
(photo credit: SARKIS ZERONIAN)
The threat to the UK Jewish community will not end following the election, according to a representative of Sussex Friends of Israel.
“If Corbyn gets beaten, who will be blamed? The Jews,” Simon Cobbs of SFI told The Jerusalem Post. “It’s a lose-lose situation for us. If Corbyn gets in, we have an antisemitic Labour government, and if he doesn’t, the Jews will be blamed for it.”
Cobbs spoke as thousands gathered at Parliament Square in London on Sunday for the Together Against Antisemitism rally.
“All we can do is go out and say that we as a community are scared,” said Cobbs. “For me personally, even though it’s a two-and-a-half-hour drive to get there, it’s incredibly important – it’s the last chance before the election to show how angry we are.”
Organized by the Campaign Against Antisemitism, the rally took place four days before the UK general election on Thursday. However, the organization made it clear this was an apolitical rally, “so that Jews and non-Jews alike can say clearly and with one voice that we stand together against antisemitism.”
Attendees waved British and Israeli flags and held signs stating “Together against antisemitism,” “Remember the lessons of the past, don’t look away” and “Solidarity with British Jews.” Several also brandished “Corbyn supports terrorists” placards. Several attendees expressed sentiments that whatever happens in the election, the Jewish community could face prejudice.
Cobbs said he hopes the rally will send a real message to British citizens that when they get to the voting booths on Thursday, they understand how scared the Jews are. “Either you stand with us or you don’t,” he said.
David Isaacson echoed these sentiments, saying it will be a lose-lose situation, “especially if Boris Johnson doesn’t win the election with a landslide victory.” He said the Jews in this country face “an unprecedented threat,” and although it’s a nonpolitical demonstration, there have been instances of antisemitism in the Labour Party.
“It really is about Labour, everyone knows this and even now, as we are coming up to the election, we are seeing more and more shocking revelations in the Labour Party,” Isaacson said.
He said that the issue of Corbyn and Labour antisemitism has united Jews from all spheres including “secular, Orthodox, religious and Reform,” which hasn’t really been seen before.
“We’re usually a bit diffident about Jewishness,” he explained. “Only now, in the last three or four years, has there been unprecedented outpouring of pride about our Jewish identity.”
Isaacson said he feels very strongly about attending, making it clear that he “would be outraged even if it was just anti-Zionism because that’s bad enough,” but with the blatant antisemitism in the party, this has spurred him on further.
Activist Joseph Cohen said that to him it was important to attend because “Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party have created an environment where Jews are othered in society.” He said that when comments are made and British Jews don’t understand English irony, it implies that they’re not British enough.
“We [are] as British as the next person, and we will not be intimidated into leaving,” Cohen added. Despite having leftist leanings all his life, and spending a lifetime campaigning against racism with the Left, Cohen said the last four years have been sobering for him.
“It was a very upsetting realization that racism comes from all sides,” he said, and that he too believes that if Corbyn loses, the Jews will be blamed.
“Jeremy Corbyn has created a movement of antisemitism that didn’t exist before,” he said. “And they are already blaming Jews – there is already a Jewish smear campaign, and calls of Jewish interference. They will turn on us if Labour loses the election – they already are and it’s a somber thought. There are more antisemites in Britain than ever before, and that’s on the shoulders of Jeremy Corbyn.”
University student Ari Deller said he had “never seen such a poisonous atmosphere toward Jews in the UK” in the run up to the election. “Especially on the university campus where I’m a student, I’ve never seen racism being denied or treated with such apathy. Antisemitism in our politics scares me a lot and has made me genuinely distressed in the last couple of months.”
Deller said, however, that what scares him even more “is how little those around me care about it when it’s not convenient to their politics to do so. I’m going to the march today in order to voice my outrage, my anger and my hurt at the state of both antisemitism and the discourse surrounding it in this country.”