Wave of anti-Israel protests sweeps countries worldwide
Tens of thousands gather in London's Hyde Park to demand U.K. stop arms deals with Israel, call for an end to the Gaza blockade • British MP under police investigation for suggesting his city be an "Israel-free zone."
Dan Lavie, Yoni Hirsch, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff
Anti-Israel protest in London's Hyde Park
Photo credit: AFP
Demonstrators gather in Cape Town to protest Israeli actions in the Gaza Strip
Photo credit: AFP
At least 20,000 people demonstrated on Saturday in London's Hyde Park calling for an end to "Israeli aggression" in the Gaza Strip. During the protest, demonstrators called on the British government to halt weapons sales to Israel.
A protest organizer said demonstrators were calling for an urgent British parliamentary meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron to explain what steps are being taken to restrain Israel while giving Gaza citizens increased security.
Smaller protests also took place across France (Paris, Marseille, Leon, Nantes), in Berlin, Cape Town and even in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa with calls to end "Israeli aggression" and to remove the "illegal" blockade of Gaza.
Meanwhile, British MP George Galloway, who is known for his extreme anti-Zionist rhetoric, said at his Respect Party's meeting over the weekend that he had suggested the U.K. city of Bradford become "an Israel-free zone" in response to Israeli actions in Gaza. Galloway's comments have prompted a police investigation.
Galloway, who is a putative Hamas supporter, appeared in a YouTube clip issuing harsh statements.
"We don't want any Israeli goods. We don't want any Israeli services. We don't want any Israeli academics, coming to the university or the college. We don't even want any Israeli tourists to come to Bradford," he said in remarks quoted by the Electronic Intifada website.
Meanwhile, about 500 demonstrators in New York have turned out to protest Israeli actions in Gaza.
They met near Columbus Circle and marched to United Nations headquarters Saturday, chanting: "Free, free Palestine! Occupation is a crime!"
Protest organizers called for an end to U.S. aid to Israel.
A social media movement aimed at uniting Jews and Arabs planned a silent protest and candlelight vigil in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near U.N. headquarters later Saturday.
Hundreds of pro-Palestinian supporters demonstrated in front of a midtown Manhattan office building on August 1 after a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire broke down in Gaza.
The dispute over the war in Gaza also reached academic America, where a lecturer lost a job at the University of Illinois after he posted astringent anti-Israel remarks through his Twitter handle.
Steven Salaita was offered a position at the university's American Indian Studies program. He had even quit his job as associate professor in the English Department of Virginia Tech. But since the war with Gaza began, Salaita, a strident pro-Palestinian, began tweeting from his personal account statements against Israel.
"Would anybody be surprised" if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "appeared on TV with a necklace made from the teeth of Palestinian children," he tweeted at one point.