Adviser warns London a ‘no-go zone for Jews every weekend’

Image caption,

Robin Simcox

London has become a ‘no-go zone’ for Jews during this weekend’s pro-Palestinian marches, the government’s counter-terrorism commissioner said.

Robin Simcox urged ministers to “be braver and be prepared to accept higher legal risk” in tackling extremism.

Last week Prime Minister Rishi Sunak used a speech to warn of forces “trying to tear the country apart”.

Stop the War Coalition, a group that took part in the marches, said there was “no need” for Jewish people to be afraid.

He said he now needed “policies to meet the scale of the challenge”.

Mr Simcox said the creation of a new definition of extremism, which the BBC understands will be set out next week, had a “clear purpose” and would be used “to guide future decisions about who the government should and should not contract and its financing. “.

He also said the government already had “more power to tackle extremism than it sometimes thinks”.

“We have not betrayed democracy if extremists are no longer able to operate television channels,” he said.

“And we will not have become an authoritarian state if London is no longer allowed to be turned into a no-go zone for Jews every weekend.”

“All these things and more have been normalized in Britain,” he added.

‘Irresponsible’

John Rees, a national official with the Stop the War Coalition, emphasized that there was “absolutely no need” for the Jewish people to be frightened by the demonstrations.

He said he understood why some might feel scared, but blamed Mr Sunak for scaring the Jewish community and said the Prime Minister had been “irresponsible”.

“If the government decides to incite that kind of fear, of course people will feel it,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Brendan Cox, whose Labor MP Jo Cox was murdered by neo-Nazi extremist Thomas Mair a week before the 2016 Brexit referendum, said Simcox and the government were using extremism as a political tool.

“The government has a responsibility not to play politics with extremism,” he said on X, formerly Twitter. “Today his ‘adviser on extremism’ manages to write an entire article… that focuses on just one type of extremism and refuses to even mention anti-Muslim hatred – despite an explosion in its prevalence.

“If the government gives the impression that it is using extremism as a political tool in the run-up to the elections, it will be pushing back on a common national goal. Please don’t do this. It’s too important.”

Mr Simcox was appointed to his advisory role by then Home Secretary Priti Patel in July 2022, having served in an interim role since March 2021.

He is a former Margaret Thatcher Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, an ultra-conservative American think tank.

Pro-Palestinian marches have taken place regularly in London since the start of the conflict in Gaza.

Last month, Home Secretary James Cleverly urged the groups to end their protests, saying: “You have made your point.”

The groups have argued that anti-Islamic “hysteria” from some MPs and pressure from the government have pushed the Metropolitan Police into heavy-handed and “discriminatory” policing of “peaceful mass protests”.

Leave a Comment