Michael Gove says some pro-Palestine events are organised by extremist organisations

The minister also said that the ‘from the river to the sea’ chant was a key Islamist demand


Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, has said that some of the pro-Palestinan events had been organised by extremist groups (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

Extremist groups may be behind the weekly pro-Palestinian marches, Michael Gove has suggested.

The communities secretary said that some of the “good-hearted people” participating in the demonstrations may like to “question who are organising these events”, during an interview with the Sunday Telegraph.
He warned that “some of the events that have been organised, have been organised by extremist organisations.

“That doesn’t mean that people who have gone on them are extremist, quite the opposite. But it means that you can begin to question: Do you really want to be lending credence to this organisation?”

Gove’s comments come ahead of the government being expected to unveil a new official definition of extremism in the coming days, which he says will help protesters decide whether to attend pro-Palestinian events in the future.

Gove also explained that the “from the river to the sea” chant was an explicit call for the erasure of the Jewish state and risked exacerbating hate.

He said there may be time for a “broader conversation about the way in which some of what's said on these marches springs from an extremist ideology, rather than simply being an expression of passionate opposition to conflict.

''’From the river to the sea' is not a call for peace. When you're saying 'from the river to the sea', you're explicitly saying: 'I want to see the end of Israel as a Jewish state, the Jewish homeland erased.'”
He said a “key Islamist demand is the erasure of what they see as the ‘Zionist entity’ or the ‘crusader Zionist state.’

“Therefore, let’s be clear that there is a difference between a cry for peace and the legitimisation of an extremist position which intimidates and leads to hate.”

Gove added that one thing the government was looking at was “the way in which foreign state and non-state actors seek to encourage extremism here.

“Again, this is inevitably sensitive work about which I can say only a very limited amount because it's not only Iran that attempts to use some of these forces to destabilise British democracy.”

The comments followed another large demonstration on Saturday during which five demonstrators and one counter-protestor were arrested.

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