Suella Braverman says sorry to Jews over policing of Gaza marches


Suella Braverman speaks in Manchester (Photo:Mike Poloway)

The police are making the strategic mistake of handling anti-Israel marches like football matches, Suella Braverman told an event in Manchester this week.

"You can’t just pick a side, that’s where the police have gone wrong. Far better – and this is where I feel our police have gone wrong – to actually confront and arrest people exhibiting criminal behaviour.”

Addressing an event hosted by the British Israel Chamber of Commerce, the former home secretary, said: “It was a real concern for me that police, over the last seven months, displayed a total lack of seriousness when it came to protecting the Jewish community on the streets of Britain.

"All I can say is sorry on behalf of police and government that the Jewish community has been made to feel unsafe and threatened."

Speaking after the event, the Metropolitan Police’s Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said: “Since October, we’ve used our powers under the Public Order Act more extensively than during any other period of protest in recent memory.
“We’ve been able to control the route of protests, their duration, their start and finish times, the details of any static assemblies and the ability of those involved to get near to sensitive sites or into communities where fears are most heightened.
“Our policing approach has evolved, becoming quicker, more proactive and more decisive. Where offences are identified we’re taking action. We’ve arrested more than 415 people during protests, including more than 190 for antisemitic offences. There have also been 19 arrests under the Terrorism Act.
“We absolutely recognise the cumulative impact of these protests and the fear and uncertainty being felt, particular in Jewish communities. We have listened and responded, and we will continue to do so as we work to make sure all Londoners can feel safe, and be safe, in their city.”

At the Manchester meeting, Braverman appeared overcome with emotion as she recounted a recent visit to Israel and how she had witnessed first-hand the trauma suffered by those affected by the October 7 massacre, having met survivors of the Nova festival and kibbutz Kfar Aza.

She had met parents whose daughters were kidnapped on October 7 and who were dreading their nine-month anniversary in captivity and the horrendous thought of them being raped by Hamas terrorists and carrying their babies.

Yet, Braverman also marvelled at the resilience of affected families, including the mother of a young soldier, who was kidnapped whilst on patrol outside the kibbutz and who was later murdered by a doctor at the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza.

Braverman said: "She has two more children going on the front line, and I asked: ‘How do you cope?’ I’ll never forget her words. She told me: ‘I couldn’t be prouder of what my children have given to their country, their home, their people.’”

Braverman also visited the north of Israel and met families who had been displaced by the barrage of Hezbollah rockets.

Speaking of the threat Iran posed to international and domestic security, she said that foreign policy for years to come would be a battle between autocracy and dictatorship versus democracy and western civilization "and right now, I don`t know which side will win”.

Taking questions, Ms Braverman was asked if the Jews of Britain would be safe under a Starmer administration.

Although she mentioned the Labour leader had once campaigned for Jeremy Corbyn, Ms Braveman did acknowledge the party had improved in its handling of antisemitism but said: “When it comes to its position on Israel, I do not trust the Labour Party to stand as a steadfast ally of Israel. I`m afraid there are far too many forces in the Labour party which will pull Keir Starmer off track."

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