Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl wrote the following message which was read out at Sunday’s ‘Stand Against Hate, Stand Against Hezbollah’ rally.
“I am sorry not to be able to be with you at this very important demonstration.
I am currently making my first visit as Board of Deputies President to the Jewish community in Scotland, to underline my commitment to be being a Board of Deputies President for every part of the UK.
However, I wanted you to know through this message that while I cannot be with you in person, I am most certainly with you in spirit.
Since Al Quds Day was inaugurated by the Iranian regime in 1979, it has become the annual opportunity to demonise the only Jewish State, the State of Israel and to show support for terrorism against Jews and those of different faiths.
Let me be clear: Shouting “Death to America, Death to Israel” has nothing to do with a peaceful demonstration in the heart of the tolerant and pluralist capital of our country.
We cherish those values of moderation and inclusion and we will speak out for them.
My friends, Al Quds Day is not a day of expressing support for coexistence and peace between Israelis and Palestinians, between Jews and Muslims.
It is exactly the opposite: denying Israel’s right to exist in peace and security alongside a Palestinian State.
That doesn’t bring about peace.
That doesn’t bring about understanding.
It only adds to the hate that fuels the conflict.
For far too long now, Al Quds Day has served as a platform for Israel-haters.
Seeing Hezbollah flags waving in the streets of London is deeply distressing. Waving Hezbollah’s flag is a sign of support for terrorism and violence. It’s pretty obvious. It even has a gun on it.
Hezbollah does not just target soldiers. It rains its rockets indiscriminately on Israeli civilians. Some of their rockets even hit Palestinian civilians. Friends: this is a war crime.
But Hezbollah does not just target Israelis. Hezbollah was almost certainly behind the bombing of the Argentinian Jewish organisation AMIA in 1994. Hezbollah was behind the bombing of a tourist bus in Burgas, in 2012. Hezbollah operatives have been arrested for plots to attack synagogues in Cyprus.
And Hezbollah does not just target Jews. Over the last few years, Hezbollah has been complicit in the wanton slaughter of Syrian civilians in support of the brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad. They have killed their fellow Muslims and Arabs without pity or remorse.
And here’s the shocking thing. While they protest against Israel here today, do you know how many Palestinians have been killed in the brutal civil war in Syria?
Yes, 4,000 Palestinians have been killed by Hezbollah, by Al-Assad, by Iran and by their allies.
Do you know what that makes the protestors over there?
Hypocrites! It makes them hypocrites of the highest order.
If they really care about the Palestinians, they will tear down those Hezbollah flags, they will march instead to the Syrian Embassy and to the Iranian Embassy and they will protest there!
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has called for the full proscription of Hezbollah. And yet, our Government has not answered that call.
Today I call on our Government to proscribe Hezbollah immediately. Hezbollah is a terrorist organisation and must be dealt with accordingly: It must be banned in its entirety.
For us Jews around the world, there is no holier place than Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the cradle of Jewish and Western civilisation. Jerusalem is the city of longing and home for the Jewish people.
Of course, Jerusalem remains a holy place for Christians and Muslims as well.
Since the State of Israel took responsibility for the holy sites following the Six-Day-War in 1967, Jerusalem has been equally accessible to Jews, Christians, Muslims and all other faiths.
Ayatollah’s Khomeini declaration that the so-called “liberation” of Jerusalem is a religious duty to all Muslims is a call for intolerance, a call for violence, and a call for terrorism.
Al Quds Day should never again serve as an excuse to give a platform to express their hate towards Jews and the State of Israel.
Two months ago, we said “Enough is Enough!” to antisemitism in the Labour Party.
Today, my dear friends, I tell you:
Enough with demonising Israel!
Enough with waving the flags of the Hezbollah terrorists!
Enough with hypocrisy!
Enough with the hate we see towards Israel and Jews at Al Quds Day!
Friends, we are not alone. The email campaign by the Israel Britain Alliance had over 10,000 people participating; the Campaign Against Antisemitism’s petition on Hezbollah has reached over 13,000 signatories;, and the Jewish News campaign to ban Hezbollah has been courageous and consistent.
Thanks to them for all they have done. Thank you all for coming. And a special thank you to the Zionist Federation for organising this event today and for standing up for peace, for truth and for justice!”