Oh, first up, let's see what The Jewish Chronicle had to say under its headline, Thousands turn out to support Israel in London rally:
An estimated 5,000 Israel supporters – many wearing blue and white outfits for the event – held up placards that called for an end to Hamas terrorism.Now that's already not a great turnout but now let's see ToI:
1,500, the number that the police estimate attended the rally, needs to be placed in a communal context:Actually there's another context, the police usually inflate the numbers for the rallies they like and divide the estimate by ten for the one's they don't. So this rally may have only attracted hundreds but less than 2,000 doesn't quite deserve to be called "thousands" as per the JC.
Now, that communal context:
All of the questions pre-suppose that Israel is a popular cause among London Jews and Jews elsewhere. Now this may increasingly not be the case. Also, it could be that even among Israel enthusiasts, Gaza has been an embarrassment. And of course given the increasing frequency of Israel's war crimes against the Palestinians some supporters might just be blasé. I mean a headline like, Israel kills civilians, is hardly shock news now, is it?
- Around 200,000 Jews live in London, thus the figure that attended represents less than 1% of the London Jewish population.
- Every summer, including this one, around 1,500 16-year-olds are visiting Israel on organised summer tours. Even if we assume that each family has only 2 children, and around 10% are single parent units, this would equate to approximately 4,350 close family members who currently have a child in Israel.
- In 2008, over 26,000 Jewish children were attending Jewish schools, and with extra places opening in the subsequent half-decade, this will now be close to 30,000 students.The point of these figures is to place into context just how small 1,500 people are within the Jewish community of the UK.So questions need to be asked, and there are no easy answers.
There is another point regarding the numbers. There was a ragbag of Christian zionists at the rally so the number of Jews present was very possibly less than 750. It would be nice to think that Jews of conscience are growing in number but statistics are fickle things.