DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Legitimate protest or incitement to hate?
Policing a highly charged 100,000-strong demonstration is no simple task.
If officers are too heavy-handed, they risk violent confrontation. With passions already inflamed, wading into the crowd to remove those suspected of criminality may trigger a full-scale riot.
But if they stand impotently on the sidelines while hatred is being spouted, they betray their primary duty to enforce the law and protect the public.
They must not allow legitimate protest to become cover for criminal incitement. It is a balance of rights against responsibilities.
At Saturday’s pro-Palestine demon-stration, when activists descended on central London in force, the Metropolitan Police got that balance wrong.
Pro Palestine demonstrators march down Piccadilly on October 21 at the highly charged demonstration
Anti-Semitic hatred was on clear and unabashed display but they failed to act decisively to stop it. Home Secretary Suella Braverman is rightly angry at their laissez-faire approach and has summoned the Met Commissioner for a full explanation.
Demonstrators flew Islamic State-style black flags, exhorted ‘Muslim armies’ to ‘rescue’ the people of Palestine, chanted anti-Israel slogans and called for jihad.
Yet Scotland Yard does not believe any of this amounted to a hate crime. With weasel words, they say the term jihad can have ‘multiple meanings’ in Arabic.
This is sheer sophistry. In the context of this demonstration, it had only one meaning – a ‘holy’ war against Israel.
These absurdly complacent police chiefs should try to imagine being in the shoes of the average Jewish citizen on the street, on the bus or in their home.
Anti-Semitic attacks have soared, synagogues have been targeted, and threatened Jewish schools forced to close since Hamas massacred 1,400 Israeli citizens just over two weeks ago.
Let’s consider what that tells us about this supposedly compassionate country of ours. Hundreds of Islamist terrorists burst out of Gaza bent on indiscriminate slaughter. They murder, they rape, they mutilate and they kidnap.
Entire Jewish families are wiped out and villages burned in an explosion of anti-Semitic depravity not seen since the Holocaust, or the pogroms of Tsarist Russia. Yet some here were literally dancing in celebration of this appalling carnage.
With passions already inflamed, wading into the crowd to remove those suspected of criminality may trigger a full-scale riot (Pictured: Graffiti on the base of Nelson’s Column being cleaned after the march for Palestine)
To them Israel is an illegitimate state, therefore anti-Semitism an acceptable form of racism
Instead of condemning the terror attack, they welcomed it, perversely blaming Israel rather than the terrorists responsible. It is, they believe, perfectly acceptable for Hamas to kill Jewish civilians. But when the Israelis attack Hamas’s Gaza stronghold in self-defence, it’s ‘genocide’.
There is a distinct sense of something having changed in this country – particularly among pro-Palestinian Islamists and their allies on the Left of British politics.
To them Israel is an illegitimate state, therefore anti-Semitism an acceptable form of racism. It is a poisonous narrative which must be challenged wherever it rears its head – especially by the police.
If it goes unchecked, as on Saturday, the hatred and the attacks will only increase, leaving British Jews feeling unsafe in their own country. That would be a triumph for bigotry over decency and respect.
In the Middle East, meanwhile, war clouds gather and blacken. Already poised for a ground offensive against Hamas, Israel is also battling Iranian-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon and southern Syria. Fears of a wider conflagration grow by the day.
There can be no moral equivalence in this conflict. In the words of Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis: ‘The murder of babies is not the act of a freedom fighter. The desecration of dead bodies, rape of women and beheading of civilians, are not the acts of militants.’
Believing that Palestinians should have an independent state is not a crime. Giving succour and support to proscribed terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah is.
Source: Read Full Article