Suella Braverman in the House of Lords in 2022 (Picture: Roger Harris)
The hundreds of thousands of people who have taken to the streets in the last month for Palestine should be proud they have forced Rishi Sunak to sack Suella Braverman as home secretary.
Her dismissal on Monday would not have happened if people had backed off and been intimidated from protesting—as Braverman wanted.
In an article in The Times newspaper on Thursday, Braverman said the police “play favourites” and apply a “double standard” to protests.
She claimed right wingers faced “a stern response”, while “pro-Palestinian mobs” were “largely ignored”.
Playing on racism, Braverman complained that “lockdown objectors were given no quarter by public order police yet Black Lives Matters demonstrators were enabled, allowed to break rules”.
The home secretary said the pro-Palestinian marches had been “problematic” because of “violence around the fringes” as well as “highly offensive” chants, posters and stickers.
She had earlier denounced people waving Palestinian flags or chanting, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
Braverman went on to describe the marches as “an assertion of primacy by certain groups —particularly Islamists—of the kind we are more used to seeing in Northern Ireland”.
In another baseless slur, she added, “some of Saturday’s march group organisers have links to terrorist groups, including Hamas.”
Doubling down on Twitter following last Saturday’s demonstration, she wrote, “This can’t go on. Week by week, the streets of London are being polluted by hate, violence, and antisemitism.
Members of the public are being mobbed and intimidated. Jewish people, in particular, feel threatened. Further action is necessary.”
It was her vile rhetoric that encouraged the far right and fascist Tommy Robinson to take to the streets last Saturday.
Clashing with the cops, and ranting about protesters was too embarrassing for Sunak. But he is pushing for a further tightening of laws to restrict protests and hand yet more powers to the police.
Reports on Monday suggested new laws could stop people from climbing on statues or bus stops, lighting flares or setting off fireworks.
The cops would also have more powers to ban protests.
Sunak is also seeking to further ramp up terror laws about “glorifying” Palestinian resistance groups. And he is trying to tighten laws that seek to restrict what people chant on protesters, including “From the River to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
It’s crucial that the pro-Palestine movement does not restrict or police itself to back off from the slogans and protests that express the anger at Israel’s crimes and the support for the resistance.
There is nothing wrong with slogans such as “From the river to the sea”. It is not antisemitic but is instead a call for a single, secular democratic state across all of historic Palestine where Arabs and Jews, Muslims, Christians and those of no religion can peacefully live together with equal rights.
And that means the end of the Zionist state of Israel and the full right of return for all those driven out by Israeli forces from 1948 onwards.
James Cleverly is the new home secretary. As soon as he was appointed, the official Conservative Party twitter feed posted his picture with the caption “Will stop the boats”.
He also called for an international response to stop migrants coming to Britain and told supporters of Palestine to “stay at home.”
Other Tories and even Braverman have hinted that she has set her sights on the top job. After she was sacked she tweeted, “It has been the greatest privilege of my life to serve as Home Secretary. I will have more to say in due course.”
Sunak’s sacking of Braverman comes as the verdict on whether her plans to deport refugees to Rwanda is ruled to be legal.
Britain’s Supreme Court will decide whether the scheme is legal on Wednesday. The government has challenged an appeal backed by refugee groups.
Braverman has gone, but her pernicious policies remain. So celebrate that she has gone, but now get the rest of the racist Tories out.
Stand up to Racism conference, Resisting the Rise of Racism and Fascism Sunday 19 Nov, 11am at Soas University, London, SW19 9GX. Also online. Register at tinyurl.com/SUTR1123