A Salute To Israel At 60
The family and I attended the Salute to Israel Parade on Sunday 29th June to celebrate 60 years of the modern State of Israel, 1948 - 2008.
The London event was a parade to, and events within, Trafalgar Square. There was a similar event in Manchester, both inspired by the annual event in New York.
In the square were kosher catering vans, plenty of free drinking water and a children’s area with face painting, stilt walkers, jugglers and bouncy castles.
Camp Simcha for sick children. Other floats were on lorries.
A motorcycle cavalcade from Yids on Bikes with some mouthwatering machinery. The Jewish Police federation were present.
On foot were Christian Friends of Israel who carried cards of the dozens of places they were from – Norfolk, Nigeria, Banbury, Birmingham.
Other walking and cycling groups were from Jewish Schools and Synagogues. There were scouts and the Jewish Boys and Girls Brigade. The St John's Ambulance brigade were also in attendance.
A gang of anti Israel demonstrators had brought their drums and were frantically making a pseudo ethnic din in an attempt to drown out the good music coming from the stage. Above them some others had climbed on the columns of the National Gallery with a Palestinian Flag. None of them looked Palestinian. The boy holding the flag was blond and looked well fed, smug and self satisfied.
“You will not succeed. You will not succeed and never again will the Jewish people flee from tyranny in our world”.
Boris Johnson paid tribute to the achievements in Israel, in which “I played my part by two weeks washing up in a kibbutz”.
There were also speeches by British Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks, the Israeli Diaspora Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog and the Israeli ambassador Ron Proser but I didn’t hear them. Being a family fun day and rather warm we moved about quite a bit, into shade, into cafes and into cloakrooms. So I can’t give the kind of report a professional would give.
The demonstrators had by this time moved to the side of South Africa House and were becoming more vocal. The police moved into position to keep them on the pavement.
There was no programme of the event so I can’t tell you much about the artistes performing.
The three protest buses drove round in a figure of 8 route. The first was open-topped and a few protestors shouted from the topdeck. The rear two buses drove around devoid of “passengers”.
This morning (Monday 30th) there was no reporting from the main British press or newsites other than a very brief mention of the pro Palestinian demonstration from the Press Association. There are reports from the Israeli papers Jerusalem Post and Ynet News. The event website promised photos and report later, Totally Jewish report is here and I imagine that the Jewish Chronicle will run a spread shortly. The Manchester Evening News report on their event in Heaton Park is here. They didn't get the sunshine that we enjoyed.
One of the aims of the event, as the Jewish Chronicle reported was “a fun day, demonstrating solidarity with Israel as well as an expression of unity within the British Jewish community, transcending religious and political affiliations”.
From what I saw it succeeded in that admirably.
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