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British Jews ‘will Not Be Intimidated’, Says Chief Rabbi At London March

Britain’s chief rabbi has said Jewish communities will not be intimidated by an increase in antisemitism, as tens of thousands marched in protest against a rising tide of hate triggered by the crisis in the Middle East.

The protest organisers had pleaded for the far-right leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon to stay away, but he failed to, leading to his arrest by police.

Yaxley-Lennon, 40, better known as Tommy Robinson, was detained on Sunday after officers told him to leave the area.

His arrest came during a march against the rise in antisemitism faced by Jewish people in Britain since the Middle East was plunged into crisis after the attack in southern Israel by Hamas on 7 October.

Organisers said up to 60,000 people attended the march in central London, making it the biggest stand against antisemitism since 1936, when protesters confronted Oswald Mosley’s blackshirts at Cable Street in east London.

The march itself saw the chief rabbi vow that British Jews “will not be intimidated” by antisemitism. Sir Ephraim Mirvis said: “We call for a strengthening of community cohesion and we will forever be proud to champion the finest of British values.

“So with regard to the poisonous spread of antisemitism, what should the response of the British people be?

“Number one, call it out when you see it. Number two, call it by what it really is – Jew hatred. Number three, be vigilant and report every incident. Number four, we must arrest every single perpetrator and bring every single one of them to justice.

“Number five, we must teach our children that the superheroes of our society are those who pursue peace and loving kindness, and not those who glorify violence and murder, and we must teach people that they must draw their conclusions from historical facts and not from what they see and hear on social media.”

Thousands march against antisemitism in London – videoThe former prime minister Boris Johnson was among those attending, with some in the crowd telling of their fears.

Jeremy Dein, a 63-year-old lawyer from north London, said: “I am completely shocked and overwhelmed by the antisemitism that has clearly been bubbling under the surface, which a lot of people are using under the mask of pro-Palestine and pro-Gaza.

“I feel the Jewish community has to show that it is strong and when we said never again, we meant never again. That’s why I’m here and I’m very proud to be here.”

He felt colleagues shunning him after the start last month of the Israel-Hamas war: “I have certainly experienced a number of my colleagues who used to be warm and friendly towards me and they blank me now.

“It’s clear to me that maybe six to eight people who would usually say ‘hi Jeremy’ or ‘good morning’ don’t even look at me and it’s obvious why that is.”

Alice Davis, 28, said: “ I’ve got friends that don’t want to come into central London, they don’t feel comfortable, because they look Jewish.”

One protester, Mark Ambrose, said: “There’s only 250,000 Jewish men, women and children in the whole of the UK. I think we are a very peaceful people, we’re not hysterical, we’re not screaming and shouting, we are just here to show our support against antisemitism.”

In a statement the Met, asked about Yaxley-Lennon’s arrest, said: “He had refused to comply with a direction to disperse under section 35 of the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act.

“We have been in frequent contact with the organisers of the march in recent days. They have been clear about their concerns that the man’s attendance, and that of those who were likely to accompany him, would cause fear for other participants. The same view has been voiced by others.

“As a result, he was spoken to and warned on more than one occasion that his continued presence in the area was likely to cause harassment, alarm and distress to others. He was directed to leave the area but refused to do so.”

Footage on X shows Yaxley-Lennon being asked to leave by police while he was in a cafe, where he said he had ordered breakfast. The far-right leader refused the police request and claimed he was attending the protest as a journalist.

The Met said that a total of two people were arrested at the march.

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