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Artillery Row

How can British Jews feel safe?

The government is in no position to promise security

Whenever the British government says it will “crack down” on something dangerous, you can almost certainly guarantee it will do nothing of the sort.

Following the brutal Hamas attacks against Israeli civilians launched last Saturday, Westminster employed the same old routine. Cabinet ministers suggested that anyone fuelling violence in the UK would be dealt with accordingly and that police presence in areas with major Jewish communities would be ramped up. 

Anyone who has ever set foot in a Jewish school or synagogue, knows they are already surrounded by huge fences, barbed wire, and staffed by security guards. The community has been self-policing for decades because they know there are threats the government cannot or will not deal with. We have already seen the Hamas flag flown in Kensington, and the ripping down of posters displaying missing Israeli children

This is why, despite the government’s incessant assurance to the community this week, several Jewish schools across London were closed on Friday over security fears.

This is unsurprising. What else could the state expect? Rape, theft and assault have been all but decriminalised in Britain. Anyone who is actually convicted of crimes is in with a good chance of receiving a light rebuke. What would-be criminals could fear the law when they know this is the case, especially those brainwashed by Islamist dreams of martyrdom? 

Perhaps the one thing the police seem capable of cracking down on is unfashionable remarks or thoughts. Last December, a Birmingham charity worker was arrested and charged on four counts after she told the police she “might” be praying silently. Over the summer social media was flooded with scenes of an autistic teenager being harangued by a huge group of police officers in her own home for a minor remark. This week, a British Jew with an Israeli flag was blocked by police from walking past anti-Israel protestors in High Street Kensington, suggesting he was “provoking something”, despite being surrounded by people holding Palestinian flags.

Context is everything. Caring about innocent lives, including Palestinians, is the opposite of extremism, it is the most humane reaction. But if your first reaction to an IRA attack is to march through the streets yelling “Free Ireland”, I think I am justified in being suspicious about your motivations. 

Already hundreds of Jewish children who should be in school sit at home

As Peter Hitchens stressed in his latest verbal spar with Novara Media’s Aaron Bastani of this week, freedom of speech is generally a good thing because it allows those with wanting ideas to expose themselves. But how long before those with the most barbaric views, are not just airing them, but forcing them on others? Already hundreds of Jewish children who should be in school sit at home today because of fear. Have they won?

Everyone who attends these demos and chants “From the River to the Sea” knows what it means. They are okay with a terror group’s mission to obliterate the sliver of Levantine territory that makes up the world’s only Jewish state, where the majority of the Jewish population is composed of people who fled persecution in the mid-20th century. 

We feel relatively comfortable in Britain, despite economic malaise and government inertia, because very few of us have grown up witnessing terror and violence on our doorsteps. We have already seen people’s sense of security diminish in recent years, and I see no politician seriously proposing solutions. Already many of us don’t even bother to call the police anymore. We know nothing will happen. Successive governments have abandoned our society to danger and despair.

Every year in London the authorities permit an Al-Quds Day March. For decades, the demo saw huge crowds waving Hezbollah flags on the streets of London before Home Secretary Priti Patel’s 2019 totally banned the terror group in the UK. In 2002 Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah said: “If we searched the entire world for a person more cowardly, despicable, weak and feeble in psyche, mind, ideology and religion, we would not find anyone like the Jew. Notice, I do not say the Israeli.” Their hatred was never a secret.

Why was the group only banned in 2019? What has become of the thousands who publicly supported it for years? How many people in this year’s  Al Quds crowd had changed their minds about supporting a day dedicated to the destruction of the world’s only Jewish state, just because Hezbollah flags were not allowed? Why do similarly dangerous groups such as the The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) remain legal in the UK? The questions are endless and there is little possibility of the government offering us coherent answers.

In the choice between valuing life and valuing death, the people of Britain must always choose life, the question is, can we trust our government to do the same?

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