Surely police can arrest protesters calling for eradication of Israel

RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: If the police can scour the internet for hate speech, surely they can arrest protesters calling for the eradication of a nation

On Saturday night, senior officers at Scotland Yard no doubt poured large Glennhoddles all round and congratulated themselves on a job well done.

By their own estimation, they were certainly entitled to do so. After all, a potentially volatile large pro-Palestinian demonstration had passed off ‘peacefully’ and with few arrests.

The fact that elements of the 100,000-strong crowd appeared to be calling for a holy war to wipe Israel off the face of the earth didn’t seem to trouble the police.

No laws had been broken, the cops insisted, pointing out that chants of ‘jihad’ could be interpreted in several ways.

For instance, it can be used in a religious sense to mean a personal struggle to become a better Muslim. True, but it’s a question of context. In relation to Israel, jihad is a call to arms. Are we seriously expected to believe that those people demanding ‘jihad’ at the weekend were really chanting:

What do we want?

A personal struggle to become a better Muslim.

When do we want it?


Tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters gather in central London on Saturday

Er, perhaps not, especially as they were also singing ‘From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free’ and carrying placards reading ‘Muslim Army’, two weeks after a self-styled Muslim army had invaded Israel and slaughtered 1,400 Jews, including babies and old women, and taken 200 hostages.

The jihad enthusiasts caught on video were from Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamist group so extreme that they are banned in Germany and across the Muslim world, which would tend to give some indication of their motives.

And what about the pro-Hamas headbanger waving what appeared to a casual observer to be an Islamic State flag?

No, you’ve got it all wrong, said the Met. Specialist counter-terrorism officers had carefully examined the white squiggles on the black flag and concluded that they weren’t an exact match for the ISIS version. So that’s all right then.

We’re in angels and pinheads territory here. The police seem to be going out of their way to find excuses for not arresting any pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel activist, no matter how menacing their behaviour.

Once again, Scotland Yard is bending the knee to the Left-wing mob, just as it did during the Black Lives Matter madness a couple of years ago.

Met Commissioner Mark Rowley was at it again yesterday, hiding behind spurious claims that he didn’t have the legal authority to make more arrests. He was speaking after being summoned to a meeting with Home Secretary Suella Braverman to explain his softly-softly approach.

Sue Ellen and other ministers expressed outrage at the Met’s failure to detain demonstrators who they maintain were inciting terrorist violence. Immigration minister Robert Jenrick rightly pointed out:

‘Chanting jihad on the streets of London is completely reprehensible and I never want to see scenes like that. This is a highly incendiary chant which is extremely intimidating to British Jews.’

But not against the law, according to Rowley. Parliament must give the police powers before he can act.

We’ve heard this weasel cop-out from the Commissioner before. He said the same about his failure to prevent Just Stop Oil nutjobs slow marching through London and bringing traffic to a standstill.

Yet when the Government beefed up the law at his request, he refused to use it, and now JSO are lining up another round of road blocks later this month.

Rowley’s ‘my hands are tied’ schtick is disingenuous, to say the least. The statute book is brimming with ‘hate crime’ laws which could be deployed.

If the police can scour the internet to prosecute anyone using ‘inappropriate’ language online and arrest those who state publicly that no woman can have a penis, then surely they can feel the collars of pro-Palestinian protesters calling for the eradication of an entire nation.

The fact that elements of the 100,000-strong crowd appeared to be calling for a holy war to wipe Israel off the face of the earth didn’t seem to trouble the police (stock photo of the protests on Saturday)

There’s a very low bar when it comes to arresting someone for an alleged hate crime. All it requires is ‘any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim, or any other person (my italics) to be motivated by hostility or prejudice’.

It has been used countless times, often in the most trivial of circumstances when the ‘offender’ is considered guilty of nothing more serious than causing hurt feelings.

Any crime can be prosecuted as a hate crime if the accused has shown hostility based on race or religion. Another clause in the Public Order Act criminalises anything which causes ‘harassment, alarm or distress’.

Is Rowley really claiming that nobody, least of all British Jews, was distressed, offended, alarmed or intimidated by the hostility on display on Saturday?

There is also the long-standing, catch-all crime of ‘behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace’. Coincidentally, that was the very reason police gave on Friday for ordering a pro-Israel supporter to stop driving through London in a vehicle displaying photographs of missing Jewish hostages. They were worried it could inflame any pro-Palestinians.

I don’t dispute that the police take anti-Semitism very seriously, especially at times of rising tensions such as these. But there are valid suspicions of double standards.

While pro-Palestinians flooded into Central London on Saturday, police prevented a pro-Israel rally going ahead in the North London suburb of Golders Green, home to a substantial Jewish community.

Christian Action Against Anti-Semitism were expecting 30,000 to attend a ‘Pray for Israel and the Jewish People’. But they were forced to call it off after fears it might be attacked by Islamist extremists.

Police say they picked up tweets calling on ‘brothers’ to make their way to Golders Green and were concerned about the threat to public safety.

Hayley Ace, one of the organisers, said: ‘Our first response was outrage, because we have a right to gather and feel safe on the streets of London’, especially when the much larger pro-Palestine march was allowed to go ahead.

If the police had tried to prevent that rally taking place, does anyone genuinely believe that Hizb ut-Tahrir and the Socialist Workers Party would have reacted with such equanimity?

Compare and contrast the quiet dignity of the 15,000 people who turned out in Trafalgar Square on Sunday to support Israel and demand the freeing of hostages, with the contorted faces of hatred among the pro-Palestine, pro-Hamas, From-the-River-to-the-Sea brigade the previous day.

Since the Iranian embassy siege in Kensington back in 1980, we have become wearily accustomed to the world’s proxy wars being fought out on the streets of London.

None, though, has had so much resonance for our indigenous Jewish population, which has deep links with Israel and in many cases has lost family members and friends to Hamas terror.

We can only imagine how frightened our Jewish friends and neighbours must feel right now as they see 100,000 people marching against Israel, which has suffered the worst loss of Jewish life since the Holocaust.

When I made my TV documentary on the new anti-Semitism 16 years ago, the alliance between the hard-Left and Islamist extremists was in its infancy. Today it is front and centre on the streets of London, with an official police escort.

Police officers stand back as militant activists call for the eradication of Israel and hide behind a theological smokescreen around the true meaning of ‘jihad’ to excuse the excesses of pro-Hamas maniacs.

I don’t blame the poor bloody infantry on the frontline. They are only acting under orders from their senior officers, brainwashed by the Left-wing freemasonry Common Purpose, and in thrall to every woke cause from Extinction Rebellion to those who want to drive the Jews out of Israel.

Curiously, the Met never used kid gloves when brutalising young women at the Sarah Everard vigil during Covid. Or showed any such restraint when cracking the heads of Countryside Alliance supporters who had travelled up to London to protest against Labour’s foxhunting ban.

Rowley’s refusal to use the laws available to him against bloodthirsty Jew-haters calling for jihad is a craven dereliction of duty, especially as his officers had no compunction in stopping a peaceful pro-Israel prayer rally.

Still, he obviously considers Saturday’s ‘peaceful’ Palestinian demo a triumph. Another Glennhoddle, guv? Make it a large one, and mind you don’t choke on it.

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