On Sunday evening, thousands gathered outside Downing Street in central London to denounce antisemitism and anti-Muslim hate in one of the United Kingdom’s largest mass vigils since Hamas terrorists attacked Israel on Oct. 7.
Faith leaders, politicians and bereaved families addressed the crowd, emphasizing the need for unity and condemning violence on all sides.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby spoke passionately. “There is no good ever in the death of an innocent Israeli,” the most senior cleric in England’s established church said. “There is no good ever in the death of an innocent Palestinian.”
The archbishop highlighted the devastating impact of conflict on families and called for a commitment to peace.
The vigil, titled “Building Bridges, Together for Humanity,” aimed to foster community relations in the country and to mourn the lives lost during the recent conflict. Prominent figures, including screenwriter Jemima Goldsmith and TV personality Rob Rinder, joined the diverse crowd.
Layla Moran, a Liberal Democrat parliamentarian whose mother is a Christian Arab from Jerusalem, addressed the crowd, saying it was “wonderful that so many children have been brought here today.”
“We will do everything in our power so that this is the last time,” added Moran, who confirmed last month that a member of her family died in the Gaza Strip.
Stella Creasy, a member of Parliament from the Labour Party, said that the Israelis and Palestinians had suffered because politicians failed to address the conflict adequately.
Tobias Ellwood, a Conservative member of Parliament, urged a united stance beyond political divisions, emphasizing the potential for a deepening humanitarian crisis. He told attendees to “stand tall with other political voices and leaders from across our national community and to have the courage to speak up.”
Brendan Cox, whose wife Jo Cox, a member of Parliament from the Labor Party, was murdered by a far-right extremist in 2016, organized the event.
Cox stressed the importance of rejecting hatred, antisemitism and Islamophobia. He told the Independent that “Extremism prospers when good people go quiet.”
“If we leave the debate to the most extreme voices, then what that does is it provides a culture of hate, intolerance and dehumanization,” he said. “It is then that we know that violence results. I know that from my own family experience.”