Daily Mail

Suella’s critics have one big problem: She’s absolutely right

- COMMENTARY By Stephen Pollard

THERE is a telling irony in the fact that more anger has been directed at Suella Braverman for condemning police handling of the pro-Palestine marches than at the marches themselves. In an article for The Times yesterday, the home Secretary criticised the police for ‘playing favourites’ with protest groups.

She highlighte­d the ‘double standard’ exhibited by their light-touch handling of marches in support of supposedly progressiv­e causes, such as those backing Gaza over the past four Saturdays, and the stern response to more rightwing protests, such as anti-lockdown demos.

She again referred to the pro-Palestine rallies as ‘hate marches’ and said they were being used by Islamic extremists as an attempt to dominate the streets of London.

Cue a meltdown from pretty much the entire law enforcemen­t establishm­ent. Mrs Braverman ‘crossed the line’, according to Sir Tom Winsor, the former chief inspector of constabula­ry. Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, described what she said as ‘irresponsi­ble’, adding: ‘It stokes divisions, it is in danger of dividing communitie­s, it reinforces stereotype­s.’

His words were echoed by a host of retired police chiefs, Lefty lawyers and even some Tory MPs. There’s just one problem with all this opprobrium. Mrs Braverman is right.

The sheer range of the approaches the Met takes to handling different marches is striking. There is footage of police fist-bumping people during the recent demonstrat­ions in much the same way that some took the knee during the Black Lives Matter protests.

Contrast this with the riot shields and strongarm tactics that they use at other times.

Suella Braverman has been a rare voice of sanity when it comes to tackling the Gaza marches. Yes, many people turn up because of the appalling loss of life in Gaza, especially the deaths of thousands of children, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be characteri­sed as ‘hate marches’ in the sense they are being exploited by Islamists.

You have to be wilfully blind not to see this – which is precisely the problem with the Met’s handling of the marches.

remember that the first one took place on October 14, before Israel had lifted a finger against hamas. That march was, sickeningl­y, prompted by the massacre of 1,400 Jews by hamas. It was not about a ceasefire, since – at that point – Israel was yet to begin its military operation in Gaza.

The police stood and watched as the crowd chanted ‘From the river to the sea’, a call for the eliminatio­n of Israel and Jews, which – as Mrs Braverman put it a few days later – ‘remains a staple of anti-Semitic discourse’. There were, as there have been on every one of the four marches, repeated calls for ‘jihad’, which – for most of us – means ‘holy war’. here we get to the gist of why Mrs Braverman is right. every week, the police have issued statements in advance saying how tough they are going to be on hate speech and every week they have shown themselves to be paper tigers.

Over the past four Saturdays, the streets – and some train stations – have been taken over by people chanting: ‘ There is only one solution, intifada revolution.’

One speaker said that the October 7 massacre showed ‘what the resistance can do when

‘Riot shields and strong-arm tactics’

‘Shown themselves to be paper tigers’

they take the fight and their self determinat­ion in their own hands’.

In the eyes of the Met, this appears to be entirely acceptable behaviour. Indeed, thanks to the Met’s social media account, we have had an insight into the mindset of the police.

In response to videos of the calls for jihad, the Met posted: ‘The word has a number of meanings but we know the public will most commonly associate it with terrorism.’

Well, yes. But it continued: ‘Specialist officers have assessed the video and have not identified any offences arising.’

The Met appears to believe that the crowds chanting ‘jihad’ are in fact engaging in a deeply contemplat­ive internal theologica­l struggle – one of the word jihad’s ‘number of meanings’ – whereas anyone who isn’t themselves calling for jihad realises that on the marches it is, as the Met’s own tweet posits, a chant for terror.

I have a question for those people who say they have marched for no reason other than their concern over the appalling body count in Palestinia­n territory.

Let’s say they had been on another march, on a different issue, and they realised that marching alongside them were neo-Nazis calling for the murder of black people.

Would they have come back the following week to march with them again? And again? And again? Because that is just what many have done – if you replace ‘black people’ with ‘Jews’. For four weeks the police have been worse than useless – worse, because by doing nothing when confronted by hate crimes, they embolden others.

The march tomorrow threatens to be the most high risk march yet. Instead of pillorying Mrs Braverman for daring to speak out in advance, she should be praised for refusing to accept the Met’s excuses and obstinacy.

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