MPs supporting Israel reveal waves of hate targeting their families

Politicians boost security as they are hit by unprecedented abuse


Andrew Percy MP (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

Members of Parliament from both main parties have revealed new details of the threats and abuse they have faced for supporting Israel after October 7, saying that they and their colleagues have been forced to adopt unprecedented security measures.

One Labour MP told the JC of an anti-Israel mob that pickets his weekly advice surgery, chanting the genocidal slogan, “from the river to the sea”. A Conservative MP, meanwhile, received emails calling him a “Zionist c***” and expressing the hope that his children will die.

A female Tory MP from a Midlands constituency, who asked not to be named, showed the JC an email saying that the reason she had described Hamas as a terror group was that “you believe that the Muslims should live under the Jewish feet”.

The Commons Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, told the House last week that his controversial decision to allow a debate on a Labour amendment to a Gaza ceasefire motion moved by the SNP was due to the threat to MPs’ security.
It emerged over the weekend that three MPs had been given taxpayer-funded bodyguards. It is now becoming clear that the scale of the threat is greater than previously realised, with some parliamentarians voicing fears that it may soon boil over into a violent attack.
Dame Margaret Hodge, the veteran Jewish Labour MP for Barking, who earlier in her career faced down threats from the extreme right-wing British National Party, told the JC she had never known a period comparable to that since October 7.

“Every time something happens, there’s been a spike,” she said. “But this has gone on and on. I’ve had to have plainclothes police officers accompany me everywhere I go in my constituency. My staff have dealt with most of the abuse, and they have been fantastic. If I’d looked at all of this material, I’d have gone crazy.”
Hodge is one of numerous MPs now being advised by the Community Security Trust (CST). Its policy director, Dave Rich, said the CST had begun monitoring and assessing threats to MPs when Jeremy Corbyn led Labour but the volume had expanded dramatically.
“Since October 7, the online world has become much angrier and more toxic,” Rich said. “We look at what comes in and make sure we feed the information to the right people.”
Some of the worst examples of overt antisemitism come from an email dossier compiled by a female MP in the Midlands. Her problem, one message said, was that she saw “Jewish people as one and equal”. This must mean she was a “Muslim hater” because “the Jewish [sic] are given more empathy, respect and support and privileges”.
Another email said: “Israel deserves everything they get”; another stated that Hamas had been “forged as a response to the terrorist state of Israel illegally occupying their land for 75 years and forcing them to live in an apartheid state, whilst persecuting and murdering them on a daily basis and kidnapping their children and harvesting their organs”. She was also told: “Just hope that one day you don’t wake up in the middle of the night unable to breathe because you’re haunted by the faces of the babies and children you have helped to murder.”
Birmingham Labour MP Steve McCabe, the parliamentary chair of Labour Friends of Israel, said he had been forced to arrange special security for his advice surgery because every week the church in which it is held was being picketed by protesters chanting “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”. Last month, he cancelled an annual social event he holds to thank local party members for supporting him after protesters threatened to disrupt it.
McCabe told the JC: “What worries me is the thought that there could be someone out there who’s mentally unstable and try to repeat what happened to David Amess (the Southend MP stabbed to death at his surgery in 2021).”
Tory backbencher Andrew Percy said that as a Jewish MP, he had felt safer on a recent visit to Israel than he did on returning to Britain. In the past, he has had to take out restraining orders against individuals who had abused and threatened him in his constituency. “One woman called me ‘f***ing Israeli scum’, hit my arm, then said now she would have to wash herself because she had touched me,” he said.
Since October 7, Percy said, he has faced a continuing torrent of abuse. One message he showed the JC told him to “leave my country, pack your bags, go to Israel, I hope your kids suffer the same fate u wish on others”. Another told him “put on the uniform of the IDF and f*** off to Israel.” He had also received messages that denied the Holocaust, asserted that “no one cares about the Jews” and called him a “Zionist c***” and a “lying fascist bigot” who should “tramped in the gutter” and “burn in hell”.
Percy told the JC: “I’ve given up forwarding most of them to the police because there’s nothing they can do.”
He has been given enhanced security but remains fearful that “something really bad is going to happen – to a politician or the Jewish community. I worry that something is going to blow”. Percy blamed the police for failing to take decisive action against hate speech when the protest marches began after October 7, which had seemed to legitimise them.
Mike Freer, the Tory MP for Finchley and Golders Green, who has supported Israel, has already said he intends to stand down because of the threats to himself and his husband and an arson attack on his office (which was not linked to Israel).
Since then, he said, the “level of aggression and intimidation has continued to increase”.

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