Braverman calls for Met Police Commissioner to be sacked over force's poor treatment of British Jews at protests

20 April 2024, 23:05 | Updated: 21 April 2024, 10:58

Suella Braverman has called for Sir Mark Rowley to be sacked as Metropolitan Police Commissioner for the force's treatment of Jews in recent months.
Suella Braverman has called for Sir Mark Rowley to be sacked as Metropolitan Police Commissioner for the force's treatment of Jews in recent months. Picture: Alamy

By Chay Quinn

Suella Braverman has called for Sir Mark Rowley to be sacked as Metropolitan Police Commissioner for the force's treatment of Jews in recent months.

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The former Home Secretary made the call after a row erupted over a Met officer accusing the head of an antisemitism campaign group of provoking a pro-Palestine protest by being "openly Jewish".

Right-wing firebrand Ms Braverman told The Telegraph it is “hard to think of any other minority that would be treated as disrespectfully as Jews seem to be”.

Read More: Sir Alan Duncan should be using language judiciously instead of parroting narratives used to hurt Jews for decades

Sir Mark will be summoned to face policing minister Chris Philp who said “deeply concerned” by the Met’s handling of the demonstrations around the Israel-Gaza war.

“No one should be told their religion is provocative, nor an innocent person threatened with arrest solely because of someone else’s anticipated unreasonable reaction,” Mr Philp said.

Ms Braverman said: “After such a litany of failure and a wholesale refusal to change, the Met Commissioner needs to accept responsibility. And he must go”.

Former British Home Secretary Suella Braverman speaks during the National Conservatism conference in Brussels, Tuesday, April 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
The former Home Secretary made the call after a row erupted over a Met officer accusing the head of an antisemitism campaign group of provoking a pro-Palestine protest by being "openly Jewish". Picture: Alamy

She added: “I’ve seen too much fear and even more favouritism in the policing of pro-Palestinian protests.”

Her intervention came after Gideon Falter, the man in the video which sparked the row, also called for Sir Mark to go.

'Gaslighting'

Speaking to LBC on Saturday night, Mr Falter, who is chief executive of the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA), said Mr Rowley had six months "to get this right" but he "hasn't done that".

"Instead we're seeing that what it seems is that the rights of law-abiding Jewish Londoners walking around the streets are being curtailed in favour of lawless mobs who the Met seems to want to appease," he said.

He added the Met has been "gaslighting" the Jewish community for months by saying the marches are "largely safe and peaceful".

"The reality of the situation is that a Jewish person walking near one of these marches instantly gets grabbed by the Metropolitan Police"

He added: "When they see a Jewish person walking near one of these marches, they grab you and they tell you to get out of the area."

The CEO added he was "treated like a criminal" and contradicts the generally positive relationship British Jews have had with the police whom often offer security at places such as synagogues or Jewish schools.

He added officers did not arrest or attempt to stop members of the crowd who shouted slurs at him during the altercation such as "zionist", "Nazi" and "scum".

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Shocking moment Met police officer threatens to arrest man for being 'quite openly Jewish' at pro-Palestine march

Mr Falter previously made the call after the Met was forced into a humiliating double apology for the conversation.

In a statement, he said Sir Mark had failed to curtail the marches, allowing "countless antisemitic hate crimes and terrorist offences" to be committed "in broad daylight on our streets".

Read More: Met police apologise again after 'victim blaming' backlash over threat to arrest 'openly Jewish' man at march

He added: "Racists, extremists and terrorist sympathisers have watched the excuses and inertia of the Met under his command and been emboldened by his inaction at precisely the moment when he should be signalling a renewed determination to crack down on this criminality.

"What the Met under Sir Mark has done to the Jewish community over the course of six months is utterly unforgivable and it is time for him to go. Enough is enough."

Mr Falter has been at the centre of a row about the policing of demonstrations after the CAA published footage of a police officer describing him as "openly Jewish" during a protest in central London on April 13.

Gideon Falter - Chief Executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism. Vice Chairman of JNF UK. with actor Eddie Marsan, taking part in the March Against
In a statement, the CAA's chief executive, Gideon Falter, said Sir Mark Rowley had failed to curtail the marches, allowing "countless antisemitic hate crimes and terrorist offences" to be committed "in broad daylight on our streets". Picture: Alamy

In the clip, another officer told Mr Falter: "You will be escorted out of this area so you can go about your business, go where you want freely, or if you choose to remain here because you are causing a breach of peace with all these other people, you will be arrested."

The officer said that Mr Falter's presence was "antagonising".

The Met apologised on Friday, suggesting opponents of pro-Palestinian marches "must know that their presence is provocative" and they are "increasing the likelihood of an altercation" by lining the route to object.

But the force subsequently issued another statement apologising for the "further offence" caused by its first apology.

Mr Falter said his treatment had been "a disgrace" and "the inevitable conclusion of six months of inertia and contextualising crimes away by a Met that has curtailed the rights of law-abiding Londoners in order to appease mobs rife with anti-Jewish racists and terrorist sympathisers".

Policing minister Chris Philp said on Saturday he was "deeply concerned" and would meet Sir Mark the following week to discuss the incident.

He said: "No-one should be told their religion is provocative, nor an innocent person threatened with arrest solely because of someone else's anticipated unreasonable reaction."

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London, England, UK. 28th Feb, 2024. Policing Minister CHRIS PHILP is seen in Westminster as he appears on breakfast TV and radio shows. (Credit Image: © Tayfun Salci/ZUMA Press Wire) EDITORIAL USAGE ONLY! Not for Commercial USAGE!
Policing minister Chris Philp said on Saturday he was "deeply concerned" and would meet Sir Mark the following week to discuss the incident. Picture: Alamy
London, England, UK. 16th Apr, 2024. Home Secretary JAMES CLEVERLY is seen in Downing Street as cabinet meet. (Credit Image: © Tayfun Salci/ZUMA Press Wire) EDITORIAL USAGE ONLY! Not for Commercial USAGE! Credit: ZUMA Press, Inc./Alamy Live News
London, England, UK. 16th Apr, 2024. Home Secretary JAMES CLEVERLY is seen in Downing Street as cabinet meet. (Credit Image: © Tayfun Salci/ZUMA Press Wire) EDITORIAL USAGE ONLY! Not for Commercial USAGE! Credit: ZUMA Press, Inc./Alamy Live News. Picture: Alamy

Home Secretary James Cleverly has also written to the Met and London Mayor Sadiq Khan about the incident.

A Home Office spokesperson said: "We welcome the Met Police's apology, and recognise the complexities of policing fast-moving public protests, but simply being Jewish - or of any other race or religion - should never be seen as provocative.

"Anyone of any religion should be free to go about their lives and feel safe doing so."

A spokesperson for Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: "Everybody must feel safe going about in London wherever they please.

"The way the original incident was dealt with by the Met was concerning and the original response put out by them was insensitive and wrong.

"The Met have an extremely difficult job - particularly so when it comes to operational decisions taken while policing marches - but in the end the Met must have the confidence of the communities they serve and it is right that they have apologised for the way the incident was handled and their original public response."

London, UK. 20th Apr, 2024. The Mayor speaks, including
A spokesperson for Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: "Everybody must feel safe going about in London wherever they please.". Picture: Alamy

On Saturday, two rival protests took place alongside each other in Tottenham Court Road, central London - one pro-Israel and one pro-Palestine.

The Met has faced criticism for its handling of a series of pro-Palestinian demonstrations since the renewal of hostilities in Gaza last October.

Last month, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the public wanted to see officers "not merely manage these protests, but police them", while his former home secretary, Suella Braverman, said the Jewish community had been "let down by the authorities", during a Commons debate in February.

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