Radical Media - by Maajid Nawaz
UK Government Extremism Tsar Ridiculed for Declaring London 'No-Go Zone' for Jews During Gaza Protests

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UK Government Extremism Tsar Ridiculed for Declaring London 'No-Go Zone' for Jews During Gaza Protests

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At the top of this post, Resistance Radio presents our WARRIOR CREED podcast from yesterday Tuesday 12th March 2024, with a transcript provided: UK Government Extremism Tsar Ridiculed for Declaring London 'No-Go Zone' for Jews During Gaza Protests.

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UK Government Extremism Tsar Ridiculed for Declaring London 'No-Go Zone' for Jews During Gaza Protests

- A Radical Dispatch

1) London ‘no-go’ zone for Jews

This week the UK government’s official counter-extremism tsar Robin Simcox declared that London has become a ‘no-go zone’ for Jews, albeit only on weekends, due to peaceful weekly Gaza ceasefire protests that he does not like.

The Telegraph reports on its front page 7th March 2024:

Other media outlets quickly pounced on the alarming line that London had just been declared too unsafe for Jews by a UK government extremism official.

The BBC Reports 8th March 2024:

The intent here was obvious. The sheer strength of weekly protest in Britain against UK support for Netanyahu’s war has left warhawks in government with little option but to clammer for new ways in which to suppress the anti-war opposition. Based in the Home Office, Simcox joins former Home Secretary Suella Braverman and other hawks who seek to cast all opposition to Netanyahu’s maniacal ethnic cleansing of Gaza as extremist.

The Daily Mail reports 7th March 2024:

Pro-Palestine protesters are turning London into a 'no-go zone for Jews', Britain's counter-extremism tsar has claimed. Robin Simcox slammed the Government for letting extremists go 'unchallenged for too long'. The Home Office's independent adviser on extremism warned that the Government had allowed extremists to 'lurk just below the terrorism threshold..

..Writing in the Telegraph, Mr Simcox said Britain has a 'permissive environment for radicalisation developing that needs urgently addressing.

Though brewing for a long time, the catalyst for this redoubled effort to ‘challenge extremism’ appears to have been George Galloway’s victory in Rochdale.

2) Genocide, Gaza & George Galloway

After veteran leftwing campaigner George Galloway swept Rochdale in an electoral landslide for Gaza, Radical Media warned readers of PM Sunak’s desire to deploy UK extremism levers against pro-Palestine protestors.

Sunak here sought to cast his opposition as ‘extremists’ who must be prevented from speaking their minds and barred from democratic campaigning. Ironically, this was presented as necessary in the name of protecting free speech and democracy.

The Times reports 3rd March 2024:

Ministers are to broaden the government’s definition of extremism as part of a crackdown on people & groups ‘undermining’ Britain’s institutions and values. Rishi Sunak has asked Michael Gove, the levelling up secretary, to update the government’s definition of extremism...

Nice try, but it won’t work. Active duty US airman Aaron Bushnell who burned himself alive to protest the “Gaza genocide was not an Islamist.

But the playbook was predictable. Biden had already used this play against the MAGA base in the US in an attempt to blunt Trump’s allegations that the 2020 US election was unsound (it was).

Radical Media reports 2nd September 2022:

3) Michael Gove announcing new government ‘counter-extremism unit’

The means by which to attempt this further suppression of anti-Israel dissent in the UK have already been announced. Secretary of State for communities Michael Gove has announced the creation of a new ‘centre of excellence’ to coordinate extremism policy across Whitehall.

Michael Gove is to announce the creation of a new counter-extremism ‘centre of excellence’ tasked with naming groups and individuals that breach the government’s new definition of extremism.

The communities secretary will reveal a long-awaited update on Thursday to the government’s definition of extremism, which will govern which groups and individuals government bodies can and cannot engage with and fund.”

This is the context in which Robin Simcox’s announcement that London has become too dangerous for British Jews to visit on weekends should be read. The main impetus driving the UK’s renewed focus on extremism is to quash domestic dissent against Netanyahu’s war policies.

The Telegraph reports 9th March 2024:

Some of the events have been organised by extremist organisations,’ Gove said.

..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’. Now, be clear about that and be clear about what that means.”

Gove here makes it clear that his new ‘counter-extremism unit’ will focus on policing slogans used to criticise Israel. The slogan ‘from the river to the sea’ is presented as an example of protestors’ extremism.

Except when it’s not.

Radical Media reports 20th December 2023 that Israel’s ambassador to London Tzipi Hotovely uses this slogan herself.

I want it to be clear that I do not recognise the national rights of Palestinians in the Land of Israel. I recognise their human rights and their individual rights, and also their individual political rights - but between the sea and Jordan there is room for one state, a Jewish state.“

How inconvenient.

In fact, contrary to being a terrorist’s chant for genocide, ‘from the river to the sea’ also happens to be the Likud party’s original 1977 party policy position.

But none of this complexity has prevented Gove’s former newspaper the Times from running multiple stories this week on why we must all take criticism of Netanyahu’s war on Gaza extremism more seriously.

The Times of London ran an editorial on the topic, 8th March 2024:

Robin Simcox, an independent adviser on extremism and Home Office commissioner, warned this week of a “permissive environment for radicalisation”, whereby these protests have turned London into ‘a no-go zone for Jews every weekend’. There is an element of hyperbole here but British Jews do feel at risk, and with reason.”

The Times seems to be preparing the public for a return of last decade’s ‘War on Terror’ era culture wars, even referencing another report that Simcox commissioned on the highly toxic issue of Muslims and blasphemy.

The Times of London reports 11th March 2024:

Protests condemning acts of apparent blasphemy have become more frequent and radicalised, according to independent research commissioned by the government’s counterextremism chief.

..It comes as Michael Gove, the communities secretary, prepares to set out a new official definition of extremism expected to cover those whose actions “undermine” the country’s institutions or values.”

They had also mustered the obligatory but compliant (and these days, scarce) Muslim counter-extremism voice to provide political cover for the agenda.

The Times of London reports 10th March 2024, by Ed Husain:

..The time has come to tackle the Brotherhood and shut down its financial, media, charitable and political arms in Britain. The government recently banned Hizb ut-Tahrir for advancing the same ideology as the Brotherhood after October 7. Follow this lead and relations will be strengthened with Arab nations in the Gulf. The Brotherhood is banned in Mecca, but thrives in London, including under names such as the Muslim Association of Britain.

Ed Husain here has endorsed the recent British decision to proscribe his own former group Hizb ut-Tahrir, only to double down and demand that the Muslim Brotherhood now be banned too.

The Brotherhood is one of the world’s largest and best known political Islamist groups. It has a long history going as far back as 1928 in Egypt. Anyone who is even slightly familiar with either of these two organisations will know that they may be many things, but terrorist is not one of them.

Their main crime of late appears to have been to criticise Israel too harshly.

4) Jewish community voices are skeptical

So preposterously hyperbolic was counter-extremism tsar Robin Simcox’s statement that London had become a ‘no-go’ zone for Jews due to Gaza ceasefire protestors, that British Jewish voices felt the need to speak up passionately in rejection of Simcox’s Muslim scapegoating.

The Times of London reports 8th March 2024:

Jewish people feel ‘unsafe’ when large pro-Palestinian demonstrations take place in London, but it is an ‘utter fiction’ to say they have turned the capital into a ‘no-go zone’ for Jews, community leaders have said...

..Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, who was a senior rabbi with the Reform Judaism movement, said: “I don’t agree with [Simcox]. It is definitely intimidating for many Jews, although I do not think that that is the intention of most people who are on these marches because they really care about justice for Palestinians as opposed to dislike or hatred of Jews.”

The Jewish news reports 8th March 2024:

Suggestions that there are no-go zones in London for Jews are ‘a total and utter fiction’, Shomrim president Rabbi Herschel Gluck has said.

..It’s like saying the Earth is flat,’ he said. ‘It has nothing to do with reality. To say there are no-go zones in London for Jews is a total and utter fiction.

The Middle East Eye carried a video by popular Jewish comedian and author David Baddiel who labelled Simcox’s transparently political intervention as ‘inflammatory.’

Click to play:

The co-founder of Jewish campaign organisation Na’amod, Emily Hilton labelled Simcox’s remarks as ‘dangerous and irresponsible.’

Click to play:

So not ‘unsafe’ was it for British Jewish groups that no less than 13 of them joined the pro-Palestine march last weekend, just to make a point.

Click to play:

5) Former Government Advisors Speak Out & Gove’s Muslim Advisor Quits in Protest

The furore over the transparent and naked politicisation of the extremism agenda by Sunak, Gove, Braverman, Simcox and others has not remained contained to protestors in the media. Former advisors in government have also spoken out. One even quit in disgust.

Simcox’s predecessor in the same role, Dame Sara Khan felt compelled to publicly reject his alarmism.

The Times of London reports 10th March 2024:

Pro-Palestinian protests in London are ‘overwhelmingly peaceful’ and it is unhelpful to say parts of the capital have become ‘no-go’ areas for Jewish people on weekends, the government’s adviser on social cohesion has said.

Dame Sara Khan said she sympathised with Jewish people who felt frightened and intimidated by the demonstrations but it was ‘simply not true’ to characterise the protests as ‘hate marches’.

..What I don’t think is helpful is using language such as ‘no-go areas’. Equally, there is a real sense of censorship and fear among some Palestinian communities here in the UK and those who support the rights of Palestinian people.’

She added: ‘I think we need to be very careful about not conflating and confusing what is contributing to extremism in our country. The evidence suggests the protests have been overwhelmingly peaceful, despite the actions of some extremist groups and individuals.

I am concerned about the lack of nuance and attempts to generalise the marches as we have seen in recent months. To suggest they are wholesale hate marches or extremist marches is simply not true and in my view, dangerous. This just polarises further what is already a polarised issue...”

As did the government’s own former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation Lord Alex Carlile of Berriew, roundly rejecting Gove’s planned revamped definitions for extremism.

The Times of London reports 6th March 2024:

..Lord Carlile of Berriew, the former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, said plans to broaden the definition of extremism were unworkable.

Carlile told Times Radio: “I think it’s shortsighted and not workable.

..Asked whether he believed the word extremism was being used too often, he said: “I think that’s a good point. I would not want the definition of terrorism, for example, to be expanded to include that which is not, in reality, terrorism.”

And finally, Gove’s own ‘hate tsar’ Fiyaz Mughal resigned while taking a parting shot at the government’s commitment to tackling anti-Muslim hate.

The Times of London reports 10th March 2024:

The adviser said to have been chosen by Michael Gove to tackle Islamophobia has questioned the government’s commitment to the issue, quitting the role before it had even begun

..Mughal quit on Friday and questioned the government’s motives, revealing that his role was for only two days a month. He said: “The other thing I want to say — and I also have to question now — [is] about the veracity of the government’s drive against anti-Muslim hate.

Those who play politics with extremism should not be surprised when their words no longer carry any weight and genuine extremism is left unchecked as a result. The boy cried wolf one too many times. It is time for the sheep to realise that it is not the wolf who deceives them, but the shepherd who keeps them in his pen only to farm them for slaughter, while telling them that they should fear becoming food for the wolf.

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