Suella Braverman: I lost confidence in the police over Palestine marches

Suella Braverman: I lost confidence in the police over Palestine marches
Georgia Pearce

By Georgia Pearce

Published: 17/05/2024

- 14:52

Former Home Secretary 'disappointed' UK Government not supporting Israel advance to Rafah

The Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman has said she has lost confidence in the police to properly maintain public order and safety over pro-Palestine marches and said there has been ‘a wholesale failure of policing’.

Ms Braverman said she thought the camps taking place on university campuses were ‘a certain kind of thuggery’ as she tried to engage with protestors over their views.

And she said she was “disappointed” that the UK Government had not been supportive of Israel’s advance into Rafah, saying the country needed to in order to ‘kill or arrest senior Hamas leaders’ and stop further attacks on Israel in the future.

Speaking onGB News during a visit to Cambridge University, where she tried to speak protestors, Suella Braverman said:

“It feels now what we're seeing on campus here at Cambridge is a certain kind of thuggery, intimidation and harassment, whereby one group is allowed a megaphone to blast out abusive messaging, and another group just has to shut up and put up.

“I'm really, genuinely interested in what these people think. I've been very vocal over the last six months about my views, both as Home Secretary and subsequently, that the acts of October 7th by Hamas were brutal and murderous, and that Israel has a legitimate right to defend itself and its military action in Gaza is justified legally, and actually morally.

“We've seen a lot of people feel very strongly about this conflict and I am genuinely interested in what people who are taking to these encampments think and feel, where they get their information from, and what their justification is.

“I want to inquire, I want to find out, I want to question, I want to engage in a reasonable and rational and respectful way with people who might disagree with me. That's the essence of a free and democratic society. And if we can't do that in Britain, then we're in a really worrying state.

“I think we get a polarisation of views, we get an entrenchment of views and then we actually get extremism as well. We've got a really big problem in this country as I've coined it, mass extremism on our streets. We've seen through these marches, not everybody on these marches, but a large number of people engage in anti-Semitism, racism, intimidation, thuggery, harassment.

“And members of the Jewish community feel terrified in the UK in the 21st century, and that makes me ashamed to be British. We shouldn't be living in a country where certain groups feel scared to go out into the streets and go about their daily business.

“I agree and support the right to peaceful protest. I support people in exercising their right to do that peacefully. What I object to is when that expression crosses the line into racism, intimidation, and criminal behaviour. And I think when you've got Jewish students feeling intimidated, not feeling able to express their views or express their faith, then we've got a real problem.

“And we've got a climate of fear and the university authorities need to step in and discipline and stop unacceptable behaviour.

“We can't have a minority group dictate the views of the majority and a big institution in the United Kingdom, which is partially taxpayer funded as well.

“Universities shouldn't take political positions. They're not here to indoctrinate, they're not here to be vehicles of political campaigns and the divestment demands and the boycotting demands are anti-Semitism, pure and simple. And in no circumstances should any public institution, any state institution, engage in that kind of activity.

“My observation is that there are elements of anti-Semitic behaviour. For example, chanting ‘from the river to the sea’, is to my mind, an anti-Semitic chant. It's calling for the eradication of Israel. It's calling therefore, for the eradication of Jewish people.

“That's a call for genocide, that is anti-Semitic. And a lot of people chant that unwittingly. They don't really know which river they're talking about which see they're talking about all what it actually means. Some people chant it knowingly.

“I believe the Palestinian people deserve a homeland. I also believe the Israeli people have a right to their homeland and a right to live in peace and security.

“Right now, my view is that there's a very brutal conflict because Israel is defending itself against the death cult called Hamas, which runs Palestine, and which is intent on eradicating Jews and Israel from the face of the planet.

“These [students] are supposed to be some of the brightest and best students in the land, and taught in the art of articulating their views and expressing arguments in a coherent way. We can see here, people don't want to engage. They don't want to discuss. It looks like a gimmick, it looks like a stunt. Is is it actually sincere?

“There has been a very vitriolic response to me from some quarters, particularly in relation to the stance I've taken on the marches and I still call them hate marches when you've got hundreds of thousands of people chanting anti semitic slogans, chanting jihad.

“Where they've crowded out other voices and Jewish people, I think that's hatred. It's not every single person, but there is a very strong element of hatred and the police have arrested hundreds of people.

“You don't get into politics and you don't go into public life if you can't handle the heat. You don't take necessary, albeit uncomfortable, positions if you're not ready for the pushback, and I'm here to tell the truth.

“I tried as Home Secretary to do that. I will constantly endeavour to do that as a politician. I'm put here in Parliament. It's a privilege and I owe people the truth however, uncomfortable that may be for others, and it might not be popular with everybody. It might in fact, upset or offend some people. But if it's the truth, I'm not going to resile from it.

“Over the month of October going into November, I was pulling my hair out, really, with these marches. They were getting bigger and more aggressive and the marchers were getting more emboldened and the police were standing by and letting it happen.

“I would talk to the police a lot, trying to urge them to take a more robust stance, to arrest people who were breaking the law, whether it's scaling the war memorials, or firing off flares or whether it was wearing face masks in breach of orders. They just wouldn't do it and it was frustrating. And that's eventually why I couldn't stay in the role.

“I lost confidence in the police to properly police those marches, maintain public order and keep people safe. And I'm afraid there's still been a wholesale failure of policing when it comes to these marches.

“Equally tragic is the brutal attack on innocent Israeli civilians by Hamas on October 7th and unfortunately, the need for Israel to defend itself. Because if it doesn't go into Rafah and eliminate Hamas, kill or arrest the senior Hamas leaders, release the hostages, then Hamas will just do this again to Israel. So they have no choice and I support Israel in going into Rarah and I'm disappointed that the UK Government doesn't.

“I think Israel is on the right side of this debate to defend itself and Western Democratic allies should be supporting Israel in her fight. But when it comes to here, what I have been also disappointed by is the lack of robust and strong leadership.

“I know Jewish people who aren't have left the United Kingdom, because it's just not safe for them. They don't feel safe here anymore. So this problem has got out of control. There's been a failure to deal with it and I really worry for the future of our social cohesion, communities, our democratic discourse, freedom of speech, and mutual respect, because it's actually very harmful for a cohesive society.”


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