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The Met must stop posting excuses on social media and protect Jewish communities, writes Stephen Silverman
24 October 2023, 09:25
- Stephen Silverman is Director of Investigations and Enforcement at Campaign Against Antisemitism
This past Saturday saw an exhibition of Jew-hate as rarely seen before on the streets of London.
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From Islamist flags and sympathy for the Islamic State to calls for Jihad against Israel, and from genocidal chanting to signs comparing Israel to Nazis, Britain's capital was effectively closed to Jewish people.
“May Allah curses be on infidels”, “May Allah curses be upon the Jews” in one part of London, and calls for “Muslim armies” to wage Jihad against the Jewish state in another. Both took place amidst an enormous gathering displaying innumerable signs in breach of the International Definition of Antisemitism, which has been adopted by the British Government.
Just as disturbing as the incidents themselves, however, was the inaction of the Metropolitan Police Service. The force already laid the groundwork for this “see no evil” approach prior to the march, announcing on social media that the genocidal chant "From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free" is not a hate crime unless it is expressly directed at a Jewish institution.
In doing so, the Met misunderstood the meaning, purpose and impact of this chant, which calls for the destruction of the world’s only Jewish state. The police also thereby rejected the Home Secretary’s view that the phrase is indeed hate speech.
That was not the only instance of the police’s failure to act. Despite us reporting them to the police, Hizb ut-Tahrir, which has been banned in some countries, was permitted to hold a rally outside the Turkish Embassy even after publishing incendiary and potentially illegal material in recent days.
At their rally, calls for Muslims to wage Jihad against Israel were heard. Once again, incredibly, the police concluded that these calls and the banners exhibited there were not unlawful.
The Met must stop posting excuses on social media – a form of gaslighting in which Scotland Yard unconvincingly tries to persuade the Jewish community that the criminality that we are witnessing is not, in fact, against the law. Instead, the police must start making arrests.
If it is a matter of resources, with police understandably concerned that they cannot safely make arrests or that there would simply be too many people to arrest if they actually uphold the law, then they must say so. The Government can then be called upon to allocate whatever is necessary to ensure that the law is upheld in our capital.
Instead, the police were invisible this weekend, as they have been throughout the past two weeks. Almost the sole exception was when they instructed us to shut off our digital vans displaying the faces of children abducted by Hamas.
Apparently that, in contrast to almost everything that we saw this weekend, was the real risk to a breach of the peace.
Policing in London has become a sick joke, and the Jewish community is the butt of it. But we are not laughing.
We will be demonstrating outside New Scotland Yard this Wednesday evening at 18:30 to urge the police to do their job and defend all law-abiding Londoners – and that includes the Jews.