Group subjected to antisemitic attack return to scene to celebrate Hanukkah


group of young people subjected to an antisemitic attack while aboard a bus have shown “positive defiance” by returning to the same spot to celebrate Hanukkah.

The incident on November 29 2021 saw a group of about 40 young Jewish people aboard a privately hired Hanukkah party bus in London’s Oxford Street attacked by men who swore, made obscene gestures and threw a shopping basket at them.

On Wednesday, the same group repeated the journey – organised by Jewish News – in a bid to show the capital was a “welcoming place for Jews”.

They boarded a bus near Golders Green in north London, before heading to Oxford Street to light candles, hand out doughnuts, dance and sing.

Rabbi Yisroel Lew, of Chabad Lubavitch of Bloomsbury, told the PA news agency: “The Jewish way is about a small amount of light dispels much darkness, so we wanted to bring this light and show that central London and Oxford Street is a welcoming place for Jews and everybody of all backgrounds.

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“And by embracing the idea of light of love of unity, which Hanukkah represents, we could send that message very loud and clear, bring light where there is darkness, bring love where there is hate, bring unity where there is division.

“We decided to bring back some of the people on the bus then to I suppose finish what they started in a positive sense.”

He added: “I wouldn’t term it as a show of defiance, because it’s positive defiance in the sense that we’re going to go on with what we are doing, what we do to bring light and positivity.

“We’re going to go on with that and we’re not going to be deterred by those who were trying, it was a handful of people, and they’re not going to set the agenda, we’re going to continue with positivity and light.”

The young people told of running back to the bus last year after a small group approached them and chanted antisemitic slurs.

Masud, 29, who was among them, said objects were thrown at “terrified” children.

He added: “I think this is a great success, we have the right security and protection, some people were very extreme last year.

“I thought England was about being against antisemitism and I can’t help thinking, if there was no security it might not be safe here at all.”

Rabbi Shneor Glitsenstein, who organised the event, said: “Today is proof that all of the communities want to accept each other and allow Jewish people to celebrate safely.”

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