Michael Gove compares anti-Zionism to how Jews were made to live 'under terms set by others'

Cabinet Minister compared it to how 'in the past you could be Jewish in the ghetto or... had to suffer disability under the law'


Cabinet minister Michael Gove has compared how anti-Zionists insist Jews distance themselves from Israel to how Jews were once forced to live "under terms set by others".

"In the past you could be Jewish in the ghetto, or you could be Jewish but had to suffer disability under the law," he told the packed Westminster reception of former Labour MP Ian Austin’s Mainstream UK group on Monday.

"More recently, antisemitism has taken a new form.

“That new form is to say that that expression of Jewish identity... either has to be removed or Israel has to survive on terms set by others."

Speaking to an an audience that included BBC Politics presenter Andrew Marr and former Tory Party chairman Brandon Lewis, Mr Gove accused outgoing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of wanting to “smuggle into our political conversation antisemitic expressions and antisemitic tropes".

But Mr Gove, who is now the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said the General Election showed the British people had rejected what he stood for and what those “acting in his name had argued for.”

Praising the “bravery” of Mr Austin for speaking out against Mr Corbyn’s Labour so forcefully, Mr Gove said: “‘Zionist’ has come to be used as a term of abuse.

“We can see the way in which anti-Zionism has mutated, so anti-Zionism has become the new antisemitism.”

Mr Gove warned that Mr Corbyn’s departure did not mean the “toxicity” would not continue within Labour.

Calling on anti-extremist campaign group Mainstream UK to continue its work, he said there are “others” who needed to be “confronted”.

Mr Gove warned about the rise of the “identity politics” of the far right.

He said: “We need to be clear that there are people who are attempting to use identity politics to divide us as Britons.

“In the same way as some choose to stigmatise and vilify the Jewish community, there are others who are equally willing to use stereotypes to vilify other people who are British, who are our friends and neighbours.”

He called for “vigilance against the new identity politics of the far right which talks about rights for whites. But in doing so undermines the ties that bind … and is undemocratic and un-British.”

Mr Gove added: “What we must do when confronted with hatred and prejudice is stand four square against it.

“Put whatever political boundaries we have to one side.”

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