Israel supporters confront Iran hate-fest en masse

For the first time, London's yearly Al Quds Day march did not go unchallenged. Pro-Hezbollah marchers were in for a surprise.

Ari Soffer ,

Al Quds Day in Baghdad
Al Quds Day in Baghdad

Last week, London - like many cities throughout the world - saw its own "Al Quds Day" march, a yearly anti-Israel hate-fest first launched by the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979, to call for the destruction of the Jewish state.

Typically, the march sees thousands of Islamist and far-left demonstrators parading Hezbollah flags and calling for Israel's destruction unchallenged through the streets of the British capital - though in recent years the number of anti-Israel marchers has dwindled somewhat, as Sunni Muslims and supporters of the Syrian opposition have boycotted the parade due to its support for Iran and Hezbollah, the two most important allies of the brutal Assad regime.

Pro-Israel groups have tended to shy away from confronting the parade, with many among the Jewish establishment preferring to "play it safe" and ignore the event - much to the frustration of grassroots activists, who say such demonstrations of anti-Israel hatred, which often spill over into open anti-Semitism, cannot go unchallenged. 

This year, however, was different, courtesy of a coalition of pro-Israel and Jewish groups, spanning grassroots groups such as the Israel Advocacy Movement and Sussex Friends of Israel, as well as major Jewish and Zionist organizations such as the Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council and Zionist Federation.

First, a handful of pro-Israel counter-protesters fearlessly confronted the march, at one point even blocking their route in an unprecedented show of defiance.

But that was only the beginning. For the first time, Al Quds Day marchers ended their parade of hate in front of a sea of blue and white Israeli flags, as hundreds of supporters of Israel gathered at the march's end point for a demonstration of their own, which saw rousing speeches from prominent human rights activist Hillel Neuer and Conservative MP Matthew Offord, among others.

The event has been lauded as a major success by pro-Israel groups, who say this is just the beginning of a concerted campaign to turn the tables on the anti-Israel movement in the UK.

Or, as the Israel Advocacy Movement which spearheaded the counter-protest stated: "The tides are turning, no longer will British Zionists sit idly by as warmongers call for the genocide of our friends and family in Israel."