Cross-party leaders condemn actions after Israeli flag ‘forcibly removed’ from Rotherham Town Hall

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An Israeli flag flown in a “show of solidarity” was removed from Rotherham Town Hall this week – a move which has been condemned by cross party politicians.

The flag was ‘forcibly removed’ after it was raised ‘to show solidarity with the victims of the weekend terror attacks’, according to Rotherham Council.

The authority added that it had reported the incident to South Yorkshire Police.

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The Palestinian militant group Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israel on 7 October, killing hundreds of people.

Rotherham town hallRotherham town hall
Rotherham town hall

A spokesperson for RMBC told the local democracy reporting service: “HM Government asked all UK government buildings to fly the Israeli flag to show solidarity with the victims of the weekend terror attacks.

“Accordingly we raised the Israeli flag above Town Hall and Riverside House [on October 10] but the flag at Town Hall was forcibly removed and the flagpole damaged before the show of solidarity was due to end at 8pm.

“The damage has been reported to South Yorkshire Police.”

Alexander Stafford, Rother Valley’s MP, condemned the actions, and said: “This is incredibly worrying and these sort of actions have no place in our society.”

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Jake Richards, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Rother Valley added: “This is very concerning news. Labour stands in solidarity with Israel after the horrific terrorist attacks that occurred last week.”

Councillor Chris Read, leader of Rotherham Council, added:"The act of pulling down the flag and breaking the flag pole is criminal damage and has been reported to the police as such. There is no excuse. Of course though in the current climate with such horrific events taking place in the Middle East, feelings are running high. Everyone’s thoughts and prayers are with all those affected. And as we hope and pray for the wisdom in the region that could finally bring peace and security for both the Israeli and Palestinian people, we would also urge all parts of our local communities to be calm and respectful over the days and weeks ahead.”

John Healey, MP for Wentworth and Dearne added: “I utterly condemn the attacks by Hamas and support Israel’s right to defend itself.

“Reports of antisemitic abuse, threats, damage and assaults are truly appalling. British Jews have a right to feel safe and secure and not to be subjected to anti-Jewish racism.”