Visitors to the UK should be expelled if they incite antisemitism, even if their conduct falls “below the criminal standard”, a senior government minister has said.
Immigration minister Robert Jenrick also criticised people who are praising Hamas terrorists following their incursion on southern Israel earlier this month.
Speaking to Times Radio on Wednesday, he said: “We’ve all seen instances of people glorifying, valorising terrorist activities – we’ve seen people holding deeply antisemitic banners, being interviewed on the media and praising Hamas.
“That is disgusting behaviour. I don’t want to see that on our streets. And if that person is just a visitor to our country, they should not be doing that.
“I can’t look a British Jewish person in the eye as immigration minister and say I’ve allowed somebody to remain at our pleasure in this country, who is conducting themselves in that manner – that is wrong. If you come to this country, you abide by British values.”
Asked whether someone waving a Palestinian flag at a demonstration could see their visa revoked, said: "No, we believe in freedom of speech.
"I disagree with your premise that... somebody who is here as a visitor to the UK has the right to be antisemitic, to threaten British communities and can stay unless that is of criminal standard.
"I think there is conduct which is below the criminal standard but which is wrong, would be accepted as wrong by most reasonable people.
"If those people are not British citizens, they are just visitors to our country enjoying the privileges of living here, being among fellow British people, then I'm afraid their visas will be revoked and they should leave the country."
Jenrick also said the Government had begun the process of revoking visas and expelling foreign nationals who spread "hate and division".
Responding to a question from Conservative MP Jill Mortimer who asked for reassurance whether any asylum seeker or person on a visa found to be “breaking our laws and inciting racial hatred and violence will be removed”, he said: “I’ve been very clear that people who spread hate and division in our country have no right to be here and so those individuals who are foreign nationals who have a visa and conduct themselves in that manner will find that visa revoked, and they will be expelled.
“We have already begun that process in a small number of cases.
“And I have written to all chief constables across England and Wales, inviting them to bring to our attention at the Home Office any examples that we should consider.”