Rachel Riley, Tracy-Ann Oberman and Eddie Marsan speak at antisemitism march

Campaign Against Antisemitism said actors Dame Maureen Lipman, Louisa Clein, Felicity Kendal and Elliot Levey were also present.

Ted Hennessey
Sunday 26 November 2023 20:36 GMT
Robert Rinder and Tracy-Ann Oberman at the march against antisemitism (Jordan Pettitt/PA)
Robert Rinder and Tracy-Ann Oberman at the march against antisemitism (Jordan Pettitt/PA) (PA Wire)

Rachel Riley, Tracy-Ann Oberman and actor Eddie Marsan were among the notable faces who spoke at the march against antisemitism in London.

Campaign Against Antisemitism, which organised the event, said more than 100,000 people marched through the capital on Sunday amid fears about rising antisemitic incidents sparked by the Israel-Hamas conflict in the Middle East.

Former EastEnders actress Oberman, who is from a Jewish background, told marchers about the “frightening and swift rise in antisemitism” experienced by people she knows.

Speaking at Parliament Square, she said: “We’re seeing a frightening and swift rise in antisemitism, Jewish attacks on our children not being able to go to school wearing their blazers with a Jewish insignia or skullcaps, our children and ourselves advised to take off any sign of being Jewish.

“I have so many friends and neighbours and people who contact me on social media saying they will take their mezuzahs off their doors, that they feel frightened, they feel isolated and alone.

“But we are not alone. We are a successful and flourishing multi-ethnic and multi-faith capital city of a multi-ethnic and multi-faith country.

“A tolerant democracy where all racism, including racism against Jews, is not tolerated.

“We have to call out antisemitism for what it is, it is an incitement to hatred, it is an incitement to divide.”

Marsan, who is not religious, questioned why some people did not condemn Hamas after its attack on Israel.

He said: “Following the events of October 7 there were those who rushed to condemn the destruction of Gaza and the loss of innocent life, which is completely right.

“But there were many who were hesitant to acknowledge or condemn the actions of Hamas against Israel and to call for the hostages to be released.

“And when I saw this I asked a Jewish friend of mine in the film business ‘why can’t they do both?’.

“And they said ‘it’s because they’re afraid, because they’re afraid of the backlash’.”

He also called for moderate people to “face down extremism and bigotry”.

He went on: “Fundamentalists always scream loud to drown out the voice of reasonable people, moderate people.

“Well in my experience people aren’t moderate because they’re turning a blind eye to injustice, people are moderate because they can see both sides of the debate, both sides of an argument, and they can sense the greater truth.”

Countdown star Riley called on people to “get serious” about tackling antisemitism.

Speaking in Parliament Square, she said: “We’ve learned from history the sharp price to be paid when good people stay silent and I’m grateful to each and every one of you here today for refusing to be bystanders.

“We’re going to have to get serious about fighting this now if we want to turn things around.

“We’re going to start having to have tough conversations. We’re going to have to stand up to the mob and we’re going to need strong stomachs.

“But together I believe we can and we will.”

Actress Dame Maureen Lipman and television personalities Robert Rinder and Vanessa Feltz joined the front of the march.

Campaign Against Antisemitism said actors Louisa Clein, Felicity Kendal and Elliot Levey were also present.

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