Billed as a “million-man” march by its pro-Hamas organizers in London, in the end less than a third of those predicted to participate showed up. Those 300,000 marchers did make sure to avoid passing the Cenotaph, as the London police had demanded, where poppy- bearing British citizens were visiting on Armistice Day to honor the country’s war dead, and instead took a route that ended up in front of the American Embassy where, not surprisingly, they defaced the American flag. Dozens were arrested for not following orders from the police, but in general, it was a peaceful affair, as pro-Palestinian marches go. There was the usual monotonous chanting of slogans with sinister intent, including “from the river to the sea/Palestine will soon be free,” which is a call for the destruction of the only Jewish state, and its replacement by a twenty-third Arab one. Some placards labelled Israel as an “apartheid state,” which of course it is not, for Jewish and Arab Israelis have exactly the same political and civil rights; a handful showed pictures of bearded Israelis labelled “settlers” which means that as far as the marchers were concerned, they are practically Nazis, persecuting helpless and innocent Palestinians (this requires you to forget the thousands of terror attacks by Palestinians on those “Jewish settlers” in the West Bank).
Meanwhile, the government remains unmoved. Rishi Sunak came out, immediately after the Oct. 7 massacre, uncompromisingly for Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas murderers. So has Foreign Secretary James Cleverly. And so has Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, who has described the pro-Palestinian “mobs” and accused the police of giving more favorable treatment to pro-Palestinian marchers while coming down hard on protesters from the right, including Tommy Robinson and his supporters.
The Labour Party, too, is standing firmly with Israel, and will continue to do so as long as Keir Starmer remains its head; he not only booted the anti-Israel and antisemitic Jeremy Corbyn out of the party, but has been demoting the corbynites who still remain — many have left in anger at his pro-Israel stance — in the Labour Party. Starmer just sacked Labour Party MP Andy McDonald for a speech he gave at a pro-Palestinian rally in which he invoked the phrase “From the river to the sea”; this seemed to imply he supported a “one-state solution” west of the Jordan that would lead to Jews being demographically swamped by Arabs. He also shouted “Free Palestine.”
The five pro-Palestinian marches have so far had no visible effect on the policies either of the Conservative government or the Labour opposition, whose leaders understand Israel’s absolute need to demolish Hamas, and realize that it is Hamas’ practice of using human shields that explains the regrettably unavoidable number of casualties. This is the most pro-Israel government the U.K. has ever seen.
Let us hope the British government can resist following the Bidenites in their weakening support for Israel. The increasingly critical tone toward Israel in Washington, with constant pressure exerted on the Israelis to agree to a series of six-hour “pauses” in the fighting every day, so that Gazans can travel safely from north to south, will lead inexorably to a call by the Bidenites for Israel to agree to a “ceasefire” in all of Gaza, which would only give Hamas time to regroup, and make things much harder for the IDF soldiers on the ground.
Antony Blinken has chosen to ignore the colossal efforts the IDF makes to minimize civilian casualties, including the 1.5 million leaflets dropped from planes that warned people in northern Gaza to head south of the Wadi Gaza, for their own safety, and all the warnings given to people living in or near buildings, including schools, apartment blocks, offices, kindergartens, mosques, and now hospitals, where Hamas hides its weapons and its fighters, to leave the buildings or areas that are about to be targeted. The IDF telephones, messages, leaflets, and uses the “knock-on-the-roof” technique to convey its warnings. Of course these warnings also allow Hamas operatives to escape. No other army in the world lets its enemy know where it is about to attack. In addition, Israeli pilots also abort attacks if they see evidence of too many civilians close to the target area.
Yet despite all this, Antony Blinken has the gall to tell Israel, after it has agreed to the “humanitarian pauses,” that “much remains to be done….Far too many Palestinians have been killed.” What would be the right amount of Palestinians killed? The Americans killed hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians in World War II, possibly as many as a million. Were they wrong to do so? By dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they hastened the end of the war, and avoided having to launch an invasion of the Japanese home islands, that would have cost the Americans tens of thousands of casualties and the Japanese hundreds of thousands. Were they wrong to drop those bombs that killed 112,000 civilians? Similarly, were the British and American airmen who firebombed Dresden and Cologne in order to destroy Nazi armaments plants and soldiers’ barracks wrong to do so? They had a war to win. Given that Israel makes heroic efforts to minimize civilian casualties, what would Secretary Blinken now have the Israelis do? What more can Israel do to minimize casualties other than what it is already doing? Remember, the IAF has conducted about 14,000 separate strikes, and Hamas reports that 12,000 people in Gaza have been killed. This means that, on average, less than one person has been killed in each Israeli attack. What more evidence does one need of the extreme care the IDF takes to avoid civilian casualties?