Sunak condemns ‘disgusting rise’ in antisemitism

The Prime Minister said intimidating behaviour and inciting violence or hatred will not be tolerated.

Rishi Sunak has condemned a “disgusting rise” in antisemitism in the days after Hamas’s attack on Israel.

The Prime Minister said intimidating behaviour and inciting violence or hatred will not be tolerated and will instead be met “with the full force of the law”.

Meanwhile, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said the Government is working closely with a “small number” of Jewish schools, which have temporarily shut due to safety fears, to ensure they can open safely.

Donna Jones, chairwoman of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, said Mr Sunak on Thursday chaired a meeting attended by Cabinet ministers and senior police officers in which they discussed concerns over policing a pro-Palestine protest planned for the weekend in central London.

The Metropolitan Police anticipate more than 10,000 people attending.

Mr Sunak, speaking to broadcasters in Gotland, Sweden, where he is attending the Joint Expeditionary Force summit, said: “Yesterday I chaired a meeting of police chiefs in Downing Street, together with the Community Security Trust, to specifically make sure that everybody in our Jewish communities can feel safe.

“There’s been a quite frankly disgusting rise in antisemitic incidents over the past few days. That’s not right.

“We have provided extra funding to the Community Security Trust to make sure that Jewish institutions – whether that’s synagogue or schools – have all the protection they need and the police have all the support that they need to ensure that our streets are safe for people from all communities.

“Because we will absolutely not tolerate people inciting hatred, or violence or racist activity. Intimidating or threatening behaviour will not be tolerated.

“It will be met with the full force of the law.”

Asked if waving Palestinian flags or saying “free Palestine” in public could constitute a crime, Mr Sunak said: “There’s very clear guidance for the police about the measures that they can take, but inciting violence, racial hatred, is illegal.

“People who are acting in an abusive or threatening manner, causing distress, are breaking the law.

“The police have the power and the tools that they need to ensure they can stop that from happening and you will see that in full force in the coming days to make sure anyone who breaks the law meets the full force of that law.”

Ms Keegan said on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, on Friday: “I’m extremely concerned that a small number of Jewish schools have decided to close temporarily due to safety concerns.

“We’re working closely with these schools to offer support and ensure they can open safely.

“Nothing will stand in the way of us keeping the Jewish community safe.”

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