UK premier: Mob rule is replacing democratic rule

Sunak vows to fight ‘shocking’ antisemitism, boosts Jewish community security funds

Amid surge in anti-Jewish hatred after October 7 Hamas assault, UK’s Community Security Trust to receive additional 54 million pounds to protect buildings, sites

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak leaves 10 Downing Street to go to the House of Commons for his weekly Prime Minister's Questions in London, February 28, 2024. (Alastair Grant/AP)
Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak leaves 10 Downing Street to go to the House of Commons for his weekly Prime Minister's Questions in London, February 28, 2024. (Alastair Grant/AP)

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced Wednesday 54 million pounds ($68 million) of new funding to protect Jewish communities against antisemitism over the next four years.

“It is shocking, and wrong, the prejudice, the racism we have seen in recent months,” Sunak said in a speech to the Community Security Trust’s annual dinner, according to extracts released by his office.

“It is hatred, pure and simple. An assault on the Jewish people. We will fight this antisemitism with everything we’ve got.”

Earlier this month, CST said Britain recorded thousands of antisemitic incidents after the outbreak of war between Israel and the Palestinian terror group Hamas in October, making 2023 the worst year for UK antisemitism since its records began in 1984.

The government had already given the CST, which advises Britain’s estimated 280,000 Jews on security matters, 18 million pounds (some $23 million) for 2024-25, taking the total funding up to 2028 to 70 million pounds ($88.6 million).

The funding will be used to increase security at a range of Jewish buildings across the country, including schools and synagogues, the government said, providing measures such as security guards, closed-circuit TV (CCTV), and alarm systems.

The CST posted its gratitude to Sunak in a post to the X social media platform, thanking the prime minister “for continuing to support our British Jewish community and for standing with us in the fight against anti-Jewish hatred. ”

The move came as British MPs have expressed growing concerns about their safety amid a surge in antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents since October 7.

Meeting with police chiefs at Downing Street to discuss intimidation of MPs, candidates, and municipal councilors, Sunak warned of “mob rule” eroding British democracy.

Aside from protest action against the background of events in the Middle East, there have also been mass demonstrations on other issues, notably traffic-blocking by Just Stop Oil activists.

“There is a growing consensus that mob rule is replacing democratic rule. And we’ve got to collectively, all of us, change that urgently,” Sunak said at the meeting according to a statement from his office.

“But we also need to demonstrate more broadly to the public that you will use the powers you already have, the laws that you have,” he told police.

Human rights group Amnesty International responded that Sunak’s concerns over undemocratic protests “wildly exaggerates the issue.”

The government announced Tuesday extra funding to keep lawmakers safe. The £31 million ($39 million, or 36 million euros) in extra funding over the next year comes as some British MPs have been targeted over their stance on the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, saying they fear for their safety if they air their views on the conflict.

“None of us should have to accept that enduring hate crimes, harassment, or threats [are] part of the job,” Interior Minister James Cleverly said in a statement.

Pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel demonstrators wave Palestinian flags and hold placards as they protest in Parliament Square in London on February 21, 2024, during an Opposition Day motion in the House of Commons calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. (HENRY NICHOLLS / AFP)

Backing Cleverly, Sunak said MPs had been “verbally threatened and physically, violently targeted,” with “legitimate protests hijacked by extremists.”

Last week, parliament descended into chaos as tensions flared over a vote on Gaza, with the House of Commons speaker citing “frightening” threats against lawmakers for a decision to break with usual parliamentary procedure.

It also comes with the country due to head to the polls in a general election expected later this year.

Meanwhile, a new poll found that over half of the members of Sunak’s Conservative party members believe Islam is a threat to the British way of life.

Fifty-eight percent of the 521 Tory party members surveyed by Opinium said Islam poses a threat to the UK. The figure is double the portion of the overall population who hold the same view.

The survey also found that 52% of Conservatives believe the conspiracy theory that certain areas in European cities are under sharia law and are off-limits to non-Muslims.

Protesters pray during a pro-Palestinian demonstration in London, October 14, 2023. (Kin Cheung/AP)

Of those polled, around 40% admitted having a negative view of Muslims, twice 20% or so who said they held a favorable view. Nearly 60% said they have a positive view of Jewish people while less than 10% harbored negative views.

War erupted when Hamas led a massive cross-border attack on Israel that killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians amid horrific atrocities including widespread gang-rape, torture, and mutilation of victims.

Israel responded with a military offensive to topple the Hamas regime in Gaza, destroy the terror group, and free 253 hostages who were abducted and taken to Gaza during the October 7 assault.

The Hamas-controlled Gaza health ministry says that since the start of the war, at least 29,954 people have been killed in Gaza. The figures cannot be independently verified, and are believed to include both civilians and Hamas members killed in Gaza, including as a consequence of terror groups’ own rocket misfires. The IDF says it has killed over 12,000 terror operatives in Gaza, in addition to some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7.

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