UK has become ‘permissive environment’ for antisemitism, says government extremism commissioner

Robin Simcox also claimed Iran had the means to stir up violence on UK streets through clerics, charities and education institutions


LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 9: Graffiti reading 'Free Palestine' is sprayed onto a railway bridge on October 9, 2023 in the Golders Green area of London, England. The incident comes at a time of renewed warfare between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, a conflict which has sparked demonstrations of solidarity with both sides in cities around the globe. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

The UK has become a "permissive environment" for antisemitism and anti-Israel extremism, the government’s commissioner for countering extremism has warned.

Robin Simcox claimed discrimination directed at the Jewish community since Hamas’ terrorist attack on Israel earlier this month was a sign of how antisemitism had become "normalised" in the UK.

Simcox blamed this "normalisation" of anti-Israel extremism and antisemitism on a "failed policy mix of mass migration and multiculturalism".

Simcox said that although the UK should be proud of becoming one of the most successful multi-ethnic democracies, its success relied on "a basic level of integration". 

Writing in The Times, he added: "The hatred that we have witnessed in recent days is not only a cause for alarm among the Jewish community. It must be a wakeup call for all decent people."

It comes after figures showed the number of antisemitic incidents reported to the Community Security Trust (CST) had tripled since Hamas’ terrorist attack.

From Saturday, October 7 to Tuesday, October 10, the CST recorded at least 89 antisemitic incidents across the UK. In comparison, they recorded 21 antisemitic incidents over the same four days in 2022.

Simcox also addressed Iran and claimed the Middle East nation had the means to stir up violence on UK streets and to spread extremist views through clerics linked to the regime, charities and education institutions.

However, Security minister Tom Tugendhat rejected Simcox’s argument on antisemitism. 

Asked whether he agreed with the comments during Thursday’s government broadcast round, he said: "No, I don't agree with that. I think that the United Kingdom is a country and an environment in which we take all threats to any communities extremely seriously.

"You just have to look at the response over the last 10 days - the way the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary and I and many others have been reaching out to the Jewish community, making sure policing is appropriate... to give reassurance.

"The way in which we've been engaging as well with the Muslim community, some of whom are feeling also vulnerable at this time and stigmatised."

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