John Aziz, British Palestinian activist, a writer and musician, and an author for the Atlantic Journal, spoke at the rally held at Tavistock Square, bringing together Muslims and Oct. 7th massacre survivors from the Nova music festival to say 'No To Terror.'

“I'm a British Palestinian, born and raised in the UK. If we want to be compassionate, just and humane, we must reject terror and hatred in all forms. Terrorism is the road to hell and into a never-ending spiral of death and revenge," said Aziz.

"The October 7th terrorist attack on Israel and the murders of over 1,000 Israelis did not liberate Palestinians. Instead, that event started a new phase of conflict, which has killed over 30,000 Palestinians. I mourn the death of all innocent people, whether they're Palestinian or Israeli," he continued.

"As far as I'm concerned one death is too many. Instead of fighting this long war that has gone on for decades, we need to make peace. A ceasefire is not enough. A ceasefire would just mean a pause in the fighting and then do we wait until Hamas attacks again. And then we have another war and thousands more people die. Remember that the leadership of Hamas has promised to repeat the October 7th attack again and again and again, until Israel is destroyed."

Aziz continued, “People say I'm punching down if I ever criticize groups like Hamas on the Palestinian side, but this is not about taking sides. This is about saying ‘enough is enough’ and we cannot go on like this. How about instead of taking sides, we take the side of peace? Instead of this failed paradigm of terrorism, war and ceasefires, we need to make peace between Palestine and Israel. We need a new paradigm of peace, compassion and coexistence. Peace will allow people on both sides to live normal lives instead of slaughtering each other. The cycle of death, hatred and trauma must be brought to an end and it's not just Israel and Palestine that need peace. We have a responsibility to advocate for peace across the world, in Afghanistan, Sudan, Chad, Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen, Burma, Iran, Ukraine, Taiwan and in every place where humans are being hurt and repressed."

Aziz believes that “Sadly for some peace has become a controversial idea. Since I started advocating for peace between Israel and Palestine, I have received death threats. I have been called a traitor and even had a member of my own family disown me. but I know that the path of peace, reconciliation and empathy for innocent people is the right and the just path. I will not be quietened or intimidated. Hatred is not the cure for hatred. Death is not the cure for death. Dehumanization is not the cure for dehumanization. We must make peace for the people standing here, for the people living through the nightmare of war and for the people who are not standing here, because they've been killed. So let me say, as I've said previously, let us dream that our children will grow up to be artists, musicians, writers, scientists, doctors and engineers instead of fighting each other in wars.”

Aziz would like us all to “dream that one day Gaza will be a wealthy city, like Singapore or Dubai, living in peace with our neighbors in Israel and let us speak this dream into existence. To quote Nelson Mandela ‘peace is the greatest weapon for development that any person can have.’ Peace is not impossible, and we should not give up on peace. We must start right now. Release the hostages unconditionally. Bring them home so we can end the war and we can live together in peace. That's what I believe. Thank you so much.”