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Britain risks sliding into the darkness of antisemitism, Michael Gove says | antisemitism

Britain risks sliding into the darkness of antisemitism, Michael Gove says |  antisemitism

 


Michael Gove has warned that Britain risks being plunged into darkness if growing antisemitism is not tackled following the October 7 attacks.

In a major speech, the Communities Secretary will say that the safety of the Jewish community in Britain is a canary in the mine for the health of the entire political system.

“When Jews are threatened, all of our freedoms are threatened,” he said Tuesday. The safety of the Jewish community is the canary in the mine.

Growing anti-Semitism is a fever that undermines politics as a whole. One thing is increasingly uniting organizations and individuals that raise extremist concerns: anti-Semitism.

It is the common currency of hate. It lies at the dark center of their worldview. Be it Islamists, the extreme right or the extreme left.

The Community Security Trust, a charity that provides security advice to the Jewish community, recorded the highest number of anti-Semitic incidents in 2023, up 147% on the previous year. About two-thirds of all attacks occurred after the October 7 attacks.

In the speech, Gove will criticize organizers of the pro-Palestinian marches, where thousands of people regularly march through London and other cities, for not doing more to stop symbols of anti-Jewish hatred.

Many of those taking part in the march are thoughtful, gentle and compassionate people driven by a desire for peace and an end to suffering, he said. But they stand side by side with those who promote hate.

The organizers of this march can do their best to stop this. They don't.

Although the march was overwhelmingly peaceful, police arrested seven people at the latest protest in London on Saturday, including a protester carrying a coffin with offensive language written on it. The protest came just days after Nakba Day, which commemorates the more than 700,000 Palestinians who fled their homes or were exiled in the 1948 war.

Gove, seen as one of the most pro-Israel members of parliament, will urge colleagues to support his bill to ban British public institutions from boycotting Israel. Some Conservatives said the move could worsen tensions in British society amid the Israel-Hamas war.

He was speaking ahead of the release on Tuesday of a report by Lord Walney, the government's independent adviser on political violence, which is expected to recommend new categories to ban extreme protest groups.

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At the start of his report he would say: It is time for politics to catch up with the real world and view extreme protest movements as an unacceptable threat rather than an extension of democracy.

Former Labor MP John Woodcock said last weekend that hard-left groups were trying to undermine Britain's democratic principles by refusing to comply with the law.

His recommendations could mean protest groups like Just Stop Oil and Palestine Action, which focus on weapons companies linked to Israel, could be banned in a similar way to terrorist organizations. Sanctions may limit the group's fundraising ability and right to assemble.

The Home Office said ministers would consider the recommendations, but it is unclear whether the government will proceed with the ban before the election. We expect to publish our counter-extremism action plan in the coming weeks.

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