'Genuinely dangerous to be Jewish' near London's pro-Palestinian marches, Michael Gove says

21 May 2024, 15:39

'Genuinely dangerous to be Jewish' near London's pro-Palestinian marches, Michael Gove says
'Genuinely dangerous to be Jewish' near London's pro-Palestinian marches, Michael Gove says. Picture: Alamy

By Christian Oliver

It is 'genuinely dangerous to be Jewish' near London's pro-Palestine marches, Michael Gove has warned.

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The housing and communities minister earlier today accused pro-Palestinian protesters of turning a blind eye to "lurid demonstrations of anti-Semitism" as he addressed a Jewish community centre.

Mr Gove called on organisers and 'good people taking part' in pro-Palestine marches to do more to stop symbols of anti-Semitism being displayed during demonstrations.

Jewish people are unable to be "their authentic selves" near the marches, he said.

While many protesters are "thoughtful, gentle, compassionate people", Mr Gove said, they are often "side by side with those who are promoting hate".

Anti-Semitism is the "common currency of hate" which is shared by the extreme right, the far left and Islamists, he said.

University College London students hold up their hands, covered with red paint referring to the bloodshed in Gaza during the demonstration
University College London students hold up their hands, covered with red paint referring to the bloodshed in Gaza during the demonstration. Picture: Alamy

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It comes after a man was arrested for carrying a placard displaying a swastika following a march in central London last month, while another was arrested for making racist remarks towards counter-protesters.

Police also sparked outrage after a video surfaced of officers appearing to tell a woman that a swastika was "not necessarily anti-Semitic".

Mr Gove also used his speech to deride recent pro-Palestine university campus protests, questioning why there were not similar demonstrations against human rights atrocities in Syria, Burma, and China.

The minister said no one had killed more Muslims than Syria's Bashar al-Assad in recent years.

He attacked the 'boycott, divestment, sanctions' (BDS) movement as 'explicitly anti-Semitic'.

Reports of anti-Semitic incidents in UK reached a record high last year, according to figures from a Jewish security charity.

Two-thirds of the 4,103 anti-Jewish hate incidents occurred on or after Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel, the Community Security Trust (CST) has said.

Shadow communities secretary Angela Rayner earlier reiterated Mr Gove’s sentiment, as she said we all “have a responsibility to condemn” anti-Semitism.

She said: "There is no place in Britain for anti-Semitic hate and those who push this poison should face the full force of the law. We all have a responsibility to condemn this vile hatred and show that it will never be tolerated.

"Michael Gove is right that most people on these marches have been protesting peacefully and lawfully, but we cannot tolerate the hateful minority and the appalling incidents of anti-Semitism."

Labour will continue to urge Ministers to reverse the downgrading of recording requirements for non-crime hate incidents, bring forward a new Hate Crime Strategy, and crack down on online extremism.

"Our door will always be open to working together on finding ways of tackling this hate."

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