Angry Protest in London Against Israeli Attacks on Palestinians

Angry Protest in London Against Israeli Attacks on PalestiniansAngry Protest in London Against Israeli Attacks on Palestinians

Cries of, “Free, free Palestine” rang out in front of Downing Street on Saturday as 2,000 people protested against Israel’s latest massacre of Palestinians. Hundreds also joined protests in Manchester, Sheffield and Bristol.

Israeli troops murdered seven and injured hundreds more Palestinian protesters on the border of the Gaza Strip on Friday. They also wounded dozens and detained at least three Palestinians who joined a solidarity demonstration in the West Bank, Socialist Worker reported.

It followed Israel’s repression of protests last week that saw 17 Palestinians killed and 1,500 injured.

A protester named Victoria said she was protesting in London to “defend their right to protest”. They are trying to step foot on land that was taken away from them,” she told Socialist Worker.

“Western governments, our government, don’t speak out about the oppression and occupation of the Palestinians,” she added.

The Palestinians’ resistance is part of six weeks of planned protests leading up to the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, or Catastrophe, on May 15. It marks the anniversary of the foundation of Israel by the theft of Palestinian land and dispossession of tens of thousands of people.

Naeem joined the protest in London as part of a delegation from the West Midlands Palestinian Solidarity Campaign. “The majority of people living in Gaza are refugees,” he told Socialist Worker. “It’s the most densely populated prison in the world. The ethnic cleansing must come to an end and Palestinians must have their right to return recognized.”

He added, “The British government has always supported colonialism, now they’re doing it again in Palestine.”

Many have tried to smear the Palestine solidarity movement and Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn as antisemitic.

  Key Distinction

Criticizing Israel and standing against Zionism is not antisemitic. Zionism is the founding ideology of Israel used to justify building a “Jewish state” that excludes Palestinians.

As Victoria said, “It’s really important to distinguish between Jewish people and Israel. Israel is a Zionist organization—and we’re protesting against Zionism not Jewish people.”

A statement was read out from Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn. He said Palestinians “have a right to protest against their appalling conditions, the blockade, the continued occupation on Palestinian land, their right to return to their homes and their right to self determination”.

This was stronger than his statement after the killings last week. Corbyn has been under pressure to retreat from his opposition to imperialism since becoming Labor leader and has made some concessions.

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