Thousands of protesters marched through London to hear a call for Israel to be cast into the international wilderness and declared a rogue state for its recent actions in Gaza.
Addressing a rally of some 20,000 demonstrators gathered in Parliament Square Baroness Jenny Tonge declared that” Israel can no longer be regarded as part of the family of nations, it is a rogue state.”
The thousands of protesters marched from the Israeli embassy in Kensington to a rally in Parliament Square where they heard calls for British arms sales to Israel to be ended. The protesters came from the trade unions, peace movement, and Palestinian groups. Stop the War Coalition, CND, Palestine Forum in Britain and the Palestinian Solidarity campaign were among the organisers.
“Tell MPs you will not vote for them unless they support the Palestinians,” said Baroness Tonge.
CND vice president Bruce Kent confessed he never thought he would look at a TV screen and see bits of babies being blown apart in a hospital.”It is a disgrace, a crime – what is going on now,” said Mr Kent, who declared that there would not be peace in the area without justice”Bring down the wall, stop the settlements and stop detaining people without trial,”said Kent, who called on David Cameron to stop his hypocrisy. “How can he talk about stopping selling weapons to Russian but say nothing about stopping selling them to Israel.”
Labour MP Diane Abbott approved of the decoration of Nelson Mandela's statue in Palestinian colours. "Nelson Mandela knew what it was to fight for justice," said Ms Abbott, who declared that “ the killing has to stop, the siege lifted and the blockade ended.”
Musician Brian Eno accused Israel of wanting plenty of process but no peace. “As long as the process is going on the Israeli settlers can go on grabbing land and beating up Palestinians,” said Eno, the former Roxy Music member. “It is time for sanctions, they are the only thing that frightens them.”
Poet and writer Michael Rosen told how Israel had banned an advertisement that named the children killed in Gaza. “They say don’t mention the children. No one must know the names of the dead children. People must be protected from the names of the children – this is how they think,” said Rosen.
A message was read out form French international and former West Ham and Spurs footballer Frederic Kanoute who claimed Israel was committing” the genocide of a people.”
“The blockade and siege of Gaza must be lifted now, how many more war crimes must be committed,” said Kanoute.
Sarah Colborne, director of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign declared that when the BBC refuses to tell the truth, we take the story to the BBC.”
Colborne, called on the government to change its policy of arming Israel. “It is shameful and disgusting that weapons components are still being sold to Israel. We must end the arms trade now, stop companies profiting from Israel’s crimes,”she said.
Former president of the TUC Lesley Mercer retold the statistics of 1000s being displaced from their homes and 1.2 million Gazans being without access to clean water. “How does Israel believe it can bring peace through its present strategy,” said Ms Mercer, who called for pressure to be brought on Israel and for more people to join the boycott of that country. “Our government must do more to put pressure on Israel.”