London

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‘An Assault on Democracy’: Rishi Sunak Backs Bill to Overturn Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ Extension

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 22/03/2024 - 10:28pm in

Rishi Sunak is backing a bill that would overturn the expansion of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone, in a move which sources close to the city’s mayor described as an “unprecedented assault on democracy and devolution.”

Powers over transport and air quality are currently devolved to the Mayor.

Londoners will also soon be handed the opportunity to have their own voice heard on the issue when they vote in May's London mayoral elections.

Sadiq Khan's Conservative candidate Susan Hall has made scrapping the zone's extension her central pledge, but is currently 24 points behind him, according to a Savanta poll published on Friday.

However, under the new backbench bill, which is being brought to Parliament today by the Kent-based Conservative MP Gareth Johnson, the Government would be handed the ability to unilaterally scrap the extension of the zone anyway.

The Transport Secretary Mark Harper said in a statement that the Government was "happy to support" Johnson's Bill.

“The government has been clear the Mayor of London’s decision to expand ULEZ charging area to the London borders, in breach of his own manifesto commitment, is a tax on the poorest motorists, which his own impact assessment states, in terms of air pollution, will only have a moderate impact on NOx and minor impact on particulates", Harper said.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister added that the bill would allow "communities to have their say".

A source close to Khan hit out at the bid to overturn the zone's extension.

“This unprecedented assault on democracy and devolution is a desperate distraction by a Government in its death throes which time and again has shown its contempt for Londoners and their rights,” the source said.

“Londoners will see through this pathetic attempt to play politics with the capital.”

Downing Street had previously ruled out seeking to overturn Sadiq Khan’s decision to extend the city’s air quality zone to Outer London.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister said last month that "road user charging is a matter for the Mayor of London and for him to justify his decision to residents and businesses."

The zone, in which owners of higher-emission vehicles are compelled to pay a daily charge if they drive inside London’s boundaries, has proven controversial with some Londoners.

Labour leader Keir Starmer has also previously criticised it, telling Khan last summer that he should “reflect” on the policy. A spokesman for Starmer told Byline Times that the Labour leader's view had not changed since the scheme was brought in.

However, City Hall say the scheme has been a success, with a spokesman saying that 95% of vehicles on London’s roads were now compliant with the newly expanded zone, which was “helping clean up London’s air and protect Londoners’ health.”

While the Government's apparent support for Johnson's bill will allow it time in Parliament, it is unclear whether it will be given sufficient time to pass into law before the next general election.

Sunak's spokesperson said plans for the bill's passage would be set out by the Leader of the House in the coming weeks.

It comes as Conservative MPs also call on the Prime Minister to remove the Mayor’s powers over policing.

Asked this week about the push to reduce the Mayor’s powers, Khan told this paper that “you can tell there's a general election and a mayoral election around the corner because of these silly gimmicks and games from the Tories.

“They should get their own house in order before they start lecturing us about taking powers away.”

A spokesman for the Prime Minister did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.

Exclusive: Corbyn’s Islington North CLP system access suspended by Labour

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 21/03/2024 - 1:08pm in

Local party officers’ access to Labour’s ‘Organise’ campaign platform revoked as party tries to shut down local democracy, say locals

A banner from Corbyn’s Islington North constituency (image: S Walker)

The Labour party has suspended former leader Jeremy Corbyn’s local Labour party in Islington North, but hasn’t bothered to tell local members or elected officers of the ‘CLP’, according to inside sources.

Instead, Labour has revoked officers’ access to the party’s ‘Organise’ campaign system, without telling them why or even that it had been done.

The ‘Organise’ manoeuvre is the latest in a long line of party moves to kill local member democracy to try to secure candidates and outcomes Starmer wants – and exposes yet again the regime’s deep contempt for party members and their rights. Starmer broke Labour’s rules to suspend Corbyn, prompting thousands of current and former party members from all over the UK to say they will travel to London to campaign for Corbyn in the seat at the next election. So far Labour has not named a candidate to stand against him.

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Keir Starmer To Hand ‘New Powers’ to Mayors and Regions as He Extends Olive Branch to Sadiq Khan

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 21/03/2024 - 3:27am in

The Labour party is set to unveil more details of its plans to devolve powers away from Westminster, Byline Times understands.

Some details of the proposals are expected to be outlined in a speech by the party's Deputy Leader Angela Rayner later this week.

The intervention follows notable tensions between the Labour leader and England's two most high-profile elected Mayors, Sadiq Khan and Andy Burnham.

Khan and Starmer clashed last summer over the London mayor's plans to implement a now-enacted low emission zone in outer London, while Burnham has criticised Starmer's decision to U-turn on his plans for green investment and House of Lords reform.

Starmer's appearance earlier this week alongside Khan for the launch of the London Mayor’s re-election campaign marked an apparent attempt to heal divisions after a period of real tensions between the two politicians.

The Labour leader’s very public criticism of Khan’s flagship decision to bring in an Ultra Low Emission Zone in Outer London last summer was met with significant anger by some of those around the Mayor.

At the time, sources close to Khan expressed frustration at Starmer’s decision to attack a policy which by that point was just weeks away from being rolled out. They also warned that Starmer’s intervention risked giving oxygen to the Conservative party’s anti-ULEZ campaign in the then upcoming Uxbridge by-election.

Their warning appeared to pan out, with the Conservatives pulling off a surprise win in Uxbridge and Rishi Sunak using the result as justification to ditch much of his own Government’s green agenda. Half a year on and Khan believes his original policy has been vindicated.

“When we brought in ULEZ in central London there were people who were very hostile and anti and the truth is that the sky didn’t fall in” Khan told this paper.

“And the great news is that 19 out of 20 cars seen driving into [the new zone] now on an average day are compliant [with ULEZ]… and this has transformed the air in our city.”

Repairing Relations

The two men’s appearance at a London community centre on Monday appeared to be attempt to move on from the row.

It was particularly notable that in his speech, Starmer praised his “friend" Khan's agenda on cleaning up London’s air, saying that “I say to people who challenge me on cleaner air, I’ve got two kids. They’re 15 and 13. I wouldn’t give them dirty water to drink and I wouldn’t want them to breathe in dirty air.”

However, he failed to specifically endorse the ULEZ policy. A spokesman for Starmer later told this paper that the Labour leaders’s view on the policy “hasn't changed”.

A source close to Khan admitted that relations between City Hall and the Labour leader's office had been strained by the ULEZ row. 

Other policy differences do still remain between Khan and Starmer.

An example of these came on Monday when Starmer was asked about Khan’s proposals to implement a form of rent controls in London. The Labour leader poured cold water on the idea, saying that “it’s not our policy at the moment.”

However, despite these ongoing differences, Khan’s team retain hope that a Starmer Government could prove pivotal for London.

Over the past eight years Khan has been a regular target of successive Conservative Governments, who have tightly held the purse strings on new London infrastructure projects. Khan's recent treatment by former Conservative Chairman Lee Anderson, who was accused of making a series of Islamophobic comments about the London mayor, was seen as emblematic of this.

City Hall hope that a relations with central government would be transformed if Starmer enters Downing Street.

In particular Khan's campaign pledge to build tens of thousands of new council homes is seen as lining up with the party's own national proposals to increase housebuilding.

Yet as well as being potentially more amenable to investing in London, Khan is also pinning his hopes on an incoming Labour Prime Minister handing over big new powers to the Mayor.

“I'm really optimistic about the next Labour government devolving more powers and resources to the cities and regions,” Khan told this paper.

“The key things we’re talking about are in relation to planning, skills and the economy.”

Khan pointed to proposals by the London Finance Commission to give the Mayor new powers to raise infrastructure funding as the sort of proposals he would be lobbying Starmer to adopt in office.

“We've done the heavy lifting on this so we're hoping in the first 100 days that you'll see the fruits of [those proposals].”

A spokesman for Starmer told this paper that the Labour leader accepted “the need for more powers for regional mayors” on areas including skills and welfare.

Devolution 2.0?

Labour proposals to devolve additional powers to the Mayor were set out in a report for the party by Gordon Brown two years ago, but little has been confirmed since.

However, with a general election looming later this year, Labour sources suggested that some details of these new devolution proposals would be set out by the party’s deputy leader Angela Rayner during a speech later this week.

Labour's devolution proposals are unlikely to be as impactful as anything pursued by Tony Blair during his first term as Prime Minister, however. The big wave of devolution rolled out by the then Labour Prime Minister was transformative, creating devolved government in both Scotland and Wales, as well as rolling out regional mayors and authorities across England.

Little proposed so far by Starmer appears to match that level of ambition, with previous plans for a new “senate of the regions” to replace the House of Lords, also reportedly being reconsidered by Starmer’s team.

However, with Labour dampening down expectations of big new spending proposals, the devolution agenda poses an opportunity for an incoming Starmer government to make real differences to the political landscape of the UK, at relatively little expense.

It could also help to contrast with the failure of the Government's own promise to "level up" the country. A Parliamentary report last week found that 90% of projects promised by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson remained years away from completion.

A spokesman for Starmer told journalists on Wednesday that the party would ditch the phrase "levelling up" if they form the next Government.

Met Police launches criminal investigation into Croydon East vote rigging

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 19/03/2024 - 10:30am in

The Labour party in Croydon is formally under criminal investigation by the Metropolitan Police cyber crime unit into allegations of vote-rigging in last autumn’s parliamentary selection for the new Croydon East constituency – a selection cancelled by the party after it could no longer deny the fixing of the result and tampering with local member lists and admitted that one candidate had been given early access to member lists and other candidates eventually received lists strewn with errors.

The data tampering included unauthorised changes of addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of a significant number of members with a vote in the selection.

Labour under Keir Starmer has been accused of frequent rigging to ensure the selection of favoured right-wing candidates and to weed out principled and left-wing hopefuls, including those with strong union backing. London has featured prominently in these allegations, with the blatant rigging against Muslim Poplar and Limehouse MP Apsana Begum among the thoroughly-documented examples.

Such alleged stacking of the process, particularly in postal and online voting, has even been used to favour right-wing candidates facing serious allegations of sexual assault.

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British Library

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 14/03/2024 - 11:54pm in

Tags 

Travel, London

Some trees on a damp winter day on Hampstead Heath
Hampstead Heath today

My plane landed in the London darkness at 5:30am this morning. The 15 hour flight was extruciating. I took the train to Farringdon to give myself a walk through an old haunt to my hotel in Kings Cross. London has changed a lot since I knew it 30 years ago.

I waited for my hotel to open it’s doors at 8 and left my small suitcase with them. I had time to kill until I could check in at 2pm.

Why I make these difficulties for myself I do not know…

I walked up to Euston and had some breakfast in a Wetherspoons pub. It was full of silent gentlemen my age and older. A few older couples came in while I drank my bottomless coffee. Nobody spoke, I felt watched.

The caffeine with a little ibruprofen began to work and I readied myself with a third cup. I walked through Camden and up to Hampstead. I circled back through the rain and slippery mud of the Heath. Past the ponds I used to swim in and up to Parliament Hill. I sat for a while and watched the dog walkers and considered Karl Marx’s resting place over on the eastern hill of Highgate Cemetry.

boom
For some reason I recorded some of my perambulations on the Garmin. I added in the rest in purple

My legs were tiring and my backpack was feeling heavy. I picked up an electric bike and sped back over Hampstead and down to Camden Town. A short walk down the canal to the oddly creepy Coal Drop Yard with it’s tech company mavens and private security guards. I preferred it when it was the battlegrounds of the Borribles.

Kicking the mud off my tattered running shoes, I washed up in the British Library. Damp from the rain and puddles. Every table here is laden with laptops lighting up the punters faces. Seems a good place to sit for a bit.

Photos/video: members protest at Unite HQ over Graham’s betrayal of Gaza

General secretary’s actions and action prompts demo at union’s executive meeting

Unite union members furious at Sharon Graham’s continued silence on Israel’s genocide in Gaza – and her attempts behind the scenes to prevent officials representing the union at rallies and marches, as well as her ban on film showings and book readings on Unite premises and her attempt to cancel a pro-Palestine event, demonstrated outside Unite’s Holborn headquarters yesterday during a meeting of the union’s executive.

Around fifty protesters, including some with experience of the fight against South African apartheid, gathered with banners calling for a free Palestine and an end to the genocide, to hear speakers and chant for freedom.

Anti-apartheid campaigner Dr Jonathan Fluxman, of Doctors in Unite, spoke to the demo about the racist atrocity propaganda that Israel and much of the western media are using to dehumanise the Palestinians:

Another speaker talked of the solidarity of Jews around the world with the oppressed Palestinians:

And the protesters joined in the South African freedom call and response, “Amandla – Awethu”, ‘Power to the people’:

Sharon Graham has been slammed for her actions – and inaction – relating to Palestine and the Israeli regime’s genocide in Gaza. She has been publicly silent about the slaughter, but has been criticised for banning Unite officials and national banners from pro-Gaza protests, banned and smeared films and books exposing the ‘Labour antisemitism’ scam, placed an official under investigation who refused to cancel a Palestine solidarity fringe event at Labour’s 2023 annual conference – and senior Unite sources have alleged that she told her chief of staff to threaten a soon-to-retire official with the loss of a pension bonus if he did not soften his support for Palestinians. An email from her official union address to an angry member dismissed the genocide perpetrated on the people of Gaza.

Ms Graham’s tenure as Unite boss has also been marked by a string of other allegations – which neither she nor the union has denied – including alleged destruction of evidence against her husband in threat, misogyny and bullying complaints brought by union employees. She is also embroiled in both an employment tribunal for discrimination and a defamation lawsuit brought by Irish union legend Brendan Ogle for the union’s treatment of him and comments made about him by Graham and her close ally Tony Woodhouse.

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Jewish Londoners Slam Government Advisor’s ‘No-Go Zone’ Claim About Pro-Palestine Marches

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 09/03/2024 - 4:10am in

Many Jewish Londoners have slapped down a Government advisor’s claim that London is now a “no-go zone for Jews” during the weekly pro-Palestine marches. 

Calling for tougher action against the Palestine protests, Government anti-extremism tsar Robin Simcox told the Telegraph: “We will not have become an authoritarian state if London is no longer permitted to be turned into a no-go zone for Jews every weekend... All these things and more have become normalised in the UK."

His comments dominated the paper’s Friday front page and led the BBC's agenda. 

BBC Radio 4 reported that Simcox – a self-described ‘neoconservative’ – declined to appear on the show on Friday morning to answer questions about his claim.

Responding to his comments, Green London Assembly Member Zack Polanski, who is Jewish, replied: “I've been on plenty of Palestine marches – and spoken at them– and as a Jewish person have felt completely safe. Whilst I don't doubt there are fearful people in our Jewish communities, headlines like this which serve to stoke fear and tension, are utterly irresponsible.”

Polanski told Byline Times that he has worked closely with Jewish organisations such as Na'mod, which marches for a ceasefire and Palestinian human rights.

“[They] are bringing Jewish voices against the occupation together and have been excellent in demonstrating the growing Jewish movement that is utterly horrified by what we're seeing unfold in Gaza,” he said.

“I've been and spoken at their rallies also and there's an absolute feeling of what else can we do now to make a ceasefire happen when politicians from the two old parties are looking away?

"It feels like stoking up stories of no-go zones are a huge distraction from our complicity in the collective punishment of the Palestinian people."

Simcox previously worked for the Henry Jackson Society think tank.

One of its founders, Matthew Jamison, wrote in 2017 that he was ashamed of his involvement and that it had allegedly become “a far-right, deeply anti-Muslim, racist... propaganda outfit to smear other cultures, religions and ethnic groups". Jamison and organisations, such as the Muslim Council of Britain, have claimed that the HJS has “relentlessly demonise[s] Muslims and Islam" – a claim the group denies. 

Another Jewish Londoner, Rachell Penn, said she was “so sick to death of this idea that Jews think in a singular way”. 

“From ultra orthodox to secular, and from right-wing to left-wing, we have so many different views, yet are patronised in the media as being incapable of different views.

"I march with  the Jewish bloc some weeks, and the very warm welcome it gets week in and week out is heart-warming. This is how peace will be achieved, not this culture war bullsh*t. Once again Jews are being used as a political football by politicians."

Ben Samuel, a Jewish Londoner from Edgware, has been in central London regularly to take part in the marches. He has marched with the Jewish bloc, in all weathers. 

While he says he’s witnessed a change in London since the 7 October attacks, and rising fears over security, he has felt safe at the marches. 

“I have monitored the situation closely by talking with Jewish neighbours and those at my synagogue," he told Byline Times. "In fact, synagogue has been a no-go zone for my black Jewish friend… The police presence has made the situation intolerable.”

He said another Jewish friend has felt uncomfortable at the atmosphere within her synagogue since October.

“At the end of [a] service the decision was made to sing Hatikvah, the national anthem of Israel," he added. "Just the whole atmosphere made her uncomfortable so she bravely [spoke] at the Bimah (pulpit), acknowledging Palestine in her talk. It's the first time I've ever heard the P word in that communal setting."

Samuel says he has been taken off door duty for his synagogue since October – he believes it may have been triggered by his pro-Palestine views. 

And while he has witnessed antisemitism and protest signs which “crassly reference the Holocaust”, media portrayals of the Palestine demonstrations do not present “the full picture”.

“I think it's vital that voices like mine are represented in the media reports,” he added. Samuel will continue to join the Jewish Bloc at the pro-ceasefire protests. 

Green activist Lesley Grahame, based in Norwich, said: “I once hid my matzos in a shopping trolley in case anyone associated me with the massacres. Nobody did. I support the ceasefire marches in Norwich and London. Yes, it's uncomfortable, but nothing to the life/death/grief/terror in the remains of Gaza.”

Matthew Butcher, a Jewish Londoner and progressive activist, said: “I am [Jewish] and it's just extraordinarily irresponsible for the Government advisor to say this. I'll be in central London feeling just fine I'd say.”

Non-profit policy worker James Ingram argued that Jews appeared to be “useful” to Simcox’s worldview and this his comments were "damaging and exclusionary”.

However, another Jewish London, Nicole Lampert, said she and her Jewish family were fearful on Saturdays “when there are people with antisemitic placards and people singing for the destruction of the only Jewish state”.

“I note there are no calls for peace or the return of the hostages on these demos (apart from the Jewish bloc),” she added. 

“Jewish people were already at a low level of fear before all of this because of the multiple threats against us. We don’t have security guards outside our schools, nurseries and synagogues for fun but because of all the death threats – and we’ve seen in France, Belgium etc. how these attacks will be carried out. That also has to be taken into account."

Writer Tanya Gold said the claim that London was a “no-go zone” was “absurd”, but added that certain parts of the marches – “anywhere where hostage posters are repeatedly defaced – feel threatening to Jews who are not anti-Zionist: i.e., most of us”.

Gold said that, while the marches haven’t erupted into violence and probably won't, “the demonisation of Israel – and with it, Jews who don't denounce Israel – feels appallingly familiar. In the mediaeval period, Jews were god-killers, demonic beings, and inhuman. You can hear very clear echoes of that language now. That is what terrifies us, and I think that fear is rational.”

Responding to Byline Times’ call for views on Simcox's comments, Francis Freeman claimed that some Jewish friends “no longer go on the marches because of the increase in antisemitic hate”.

Another Jewish respondent, Rebecca Trenner, added: “I don't go into [central] London on Saturdays because I feel threatened. I won't take my children to central London on protest days – many friends agree.”

Rabbi Zvi Solomons, who lives in Reading and often comes to London, said he has faced antisemitic behaviour (though not necessarily on the marches). He told Byline Times: “I am street savvy and have had two or three occasions when a young man has approached me from behind, in a menacing manner, whilst I’m walking down the road. They saw my kippa. I turned to avoid the situation becoming threatening to me."

Do you have a story that needs highlighting? Get in touch by emailing josiah@bylinetimes.com

Excl: new Unite chief of staff ‘threatens London sec with loss of pension bonus’ for Gaza support

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 08/03/2024 - 12:53am in

No denial from new official appointed by Graham without exec interview

Unite’s new ‘chief of staff’ has been accused by party insiders in London of threatening the union’s London regional secretary with the loss of a discretionary pension bonus if he did not pull back from his support for Palestinians in Gaza against Israel’s genocide.

Sarah Carpenter – who sources say was appointed by general secretary Sharon Graham without the position being advertised and without the approval of Unite’s elected executive, to their and members’ fury – has been accused of making the threat to regional secretary Peter Kavanagh.

Ms Carpenter,

According to Unite sources, you threatened Pete Kavanagh with the loss of his pension bonus if he didn’t back off from his support of Gaza… The sources say that you did this at the behest of Sharon Graham.

If you have any comment or denial to make in respect of this, please provide it no later than 2pm, Weds 6 March. They also say that the position you now hold was not advertised for applications. Is this correct?

Twenty-two hours after the press deadline, no response has been received.

Sarah Carpenter was accused last year – as Southern regional secretary – by members of banning showings of the film ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn/The Big Lie’, which exposes the sabotage of Corbyn’s Labour by the party’s hard right and the use of antisemitism smears as part of the sabotage campaign. Pro-Israel lobby group CAA claimed credit for her decision and Sharon Graham’s wider move to ban showings of the film and readings of Asa Winstanley’s book ‘Weaponising Antisemitism/How the Israel Lobby Brought Down Jeremy Corbyn’.

As well as the ban of the book and film from all Unite buildings, Graham was accused of trying to force the cancellation of a pro-Palestine fringe meeting at Labour’s conference last October. The bid failed when the event’s organiser, international director Simon Dubbins, told Graham’s proxies that she’d have to come and tell him herself if she wanted the event off. Unite has now placed Dubbins under investigation.

Graham has also been condemned by Unite members for her public silence over the Gaza slaughter. Members are planning to picket the union executive’s next meeting, which takes place next week.

One Unite source told Skwawkbox of the anger of elected executive members over the latest move:

Pete Kavanagh the Regional Secretary was called up and threatened by Sharon’s new hatchet woman Sarah Carpenter that he backs off supporting Palestine or they would take away his retirement bonus. Pete is due to retire and apparently there is some leavers bonus that is discretionary.

The chief of staff post was not advertised nor was the job interviewed by Executive council. Members are furious.

Unite operates ‘discretionary enhanced pension’ scheme that allows staff to retire five years early without losing pension entitlement they would have had if they worked until full retirement age. A proposal was floated by Graham in 2022 to end this scheme and force staff to work until sixty-five for their full pension and consulted on the change in early 2023, but this does not appear to have been enacted, at least yet, and entitlement under this scheme seems to be what was referred to in the alleged threat.

Kavanagh retired last month.

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Sylvester McCoy Plays The Spoons On Colin Baker And Bonnie Langford

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 06/03/2024 - 12:36am in

Sylvester McCoy plays the Spoons on Colin Baker and Bonnie Langford during the Doctor Who panel for London Comic Con (Spring).

150 British Jews tell Met top cop: you’re racist assuming we all support Israel

Letter from anti-racist Jews denounces Establishment’s treatment of anti-genocide marches as antisemitic

One hundred and fifty British Jews have written to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mark Rowley denouncing the police (and government) treatment of marches against Israel’s genocide in Gaza as if they are antisemitic. The letter reads:

We Reject Your Insinuation That The Marches Against Genocide in Gaza Represent a Threat to Jews or the Jewish Community and Suggest that It Is Not the Business of the Police to Intervene in Ongoing Political Debates

We the undersigned, being Jewish, wish to support and join a complaint against the Metropolitan Police, for their racist and anti-Semitic assumption that all Britain’s Jews support Israel’s genocidal attacks on Gaza.

We further believe that the decision of the Metropolitan, Police to delay the starting time of the March Against Genocide in Gaza on 17 Feb. 24 from 12.00 to 1.30 pm ‘to accommodate an event at a synagogue along the route’ is lslamophobic, based as it is on the assumption that the large numbers of Muslims taking part pose a threat to Jews worshipping in congregations nearby.

Your decision to delay the start of the march rested u~on the assumption that there is something inherently anti-Semitic about supporting the Palestinians and that anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism.

The Met’s decision ignores the fact that many thousands of British Jews have already taken part in such marches without feeling threatened in any way. Indeed the march has started from Marble Arch on at least two previous occasions recently without any anti-Semitic incidents.

We are tired of the Police’s racist and anti-Semitic assumption that to be Jewish is to support Zionism and Israel’s racist and genocidal treatment of the Palestinians. There are many thousands of Jews who are active in the Palestine solidarity movement and we resent your assumptions to the contrary.

The letter is signed by:

The letter’s publication comes amid a flurry of racist and Islamophobic comments by government and opposition politicians, with the help of their media allies, aimed at smearing those who object to mass murder as racist – and the arrest of three left-wing protesters in Newham on the nonsensical basis that booing and hissing a supporter of Israel is antisemitic.

The Establishment is determined to suppress free speech against Israel and its war crimes, and to ignore the blatant racism involved in the assumptions it uses to try to justify those attacks. Anti-racist Jews in the UK and the US know better.

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