December 7, 2023
December 7, 2023

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Neo-Nazism and Freedom of Speech in England

British police made the correct decision to move an offensive neo-Nazi demonstration scheduled for this Shabbos afternoon out of a heavily populated Jewish neighborhood.

We applaud that action.

It will move the demonstration away from offending the Jewish residents of Golders Green, so that the community may observe Shabbos in peace.

The organizer of the much-publicized anti-Semitic march was promising “Jewish book burning and Jewish flag destruction.” Earlier this year, the same group marched against what they called the “Jewification of Great Britain” in Stamford Hill, a neighborhood where many Hareidi families live.

Certainly we agree with many of the area’s Jews that any anti-Semitic demonstration should never be permitted.

The Community Security Trust (CST), with the help of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, negotiated the location switch with area police. The CST said it understood the importance of “freedom of speech and assembly” as essential human rights while condemning the anti-Semitic rally.

Even David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, while recognizing the right to free expression, condemned any anti-Semitic rallies or messages.

At a time, though, when we see the cancerous growth of anti-Semitism in nations such as England and France, we encourage the British government and its local municipalities to show a strong presence wherever and whenever hate groups of any type seek to diminish the civil rights and standing of all religious, ethnic or cultural minorities.

Yes, there will be extra police in the Golders Green neighborhood this Shabbos even with the rally moved elsewhere. We are certainly glad of that. But we also warn that the triggering of anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli sentiment in Europe must be continually monitored and dealt with justly. No Jewish family should ever feel in danger to walk to shul on a Shabbos or live their life safely in England or anywhere else.

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