Gove’s extremism warning as antisemitism incidents rise by 147 per cent

Gove’s extremism warning as antisemitism incidents rise by 147 per cent

Michael Gove will today warn that the rise of antisemitism in Britain is a sign that the country is “descending into darkness”.

The communities secretary is set to speak to the Jewish community in London amid huge concerns at the way there has been a 147 per cent increase in antisemitic incidents since 2022.

The number has risen from 1,662 in 2022 to 2,699 incidents in the UK during the period on or after 7 October 2023 - the day when Hamas terrorists slaughtered and kidnapped hundreds of Jews in Israel.

Mr Gove’s hard-hitting speech will come on the same day as Lord Walney publishes a landmark report on political violence and disruption, and ahead of the publication of the government’s Counter Extremism Action Plan in the coming weeks.

The senior minister will identify three forms of extremism of Islamism, the far right and hard left as “all sharing a common thread” of antisemitism.

Communities secretary Michael Gove is set to speak about antisemitism today (PA Wire)
Communities secretary Michael Gove is set to speak about antisemitism today (PA Wire)

Mr Gove is expected to say: “It’s an iron-clad law of history that countries which are descending into darkness are those which are becoming progressively more unsafe for Jewish individuals and the Jewish community - the Spain of the Inquisition, the Vienna of the 1900s, Germany in the Thirties, Russia in the last decade.

“It is a parallel law that those countries in which the Jewish community has felt most safe at any time are the countries where freedom is most secure at any time. The Netherlands of the 17th century. Britain in the first decades of the last century. America in the second half of that century.

“So when Jewish people are under threat, all our freedoms are threatened. The safety of the Jewish community is the canary in the mine. Growing Antisemitism is a fever which weakens the whole body politic.”

He will go on: “I see that directly in my work tackling extremism and promoting community cohesion. There is one thing which - increasingly - unites the organisations and individuals which give cause for extremist concern. Antisemitism. It is the common currency of hate. It is at the dark heart of their world view. Whether Islamist. Far Right. Or Hard Left.”

Referring to recent protest marches, the secretary of state is expected to call out organisers for not doing more to prevent symbols of anti-Jewish hate.

He is due to say: “Many of those on these marches are thoughtful, gentle, compassionate people - driven by a desire for peace and an end to suffering. But they are side by side with those who are promoting hate.

“The organisers of these marches could do everything in their power to stop that. They don’t.”

Mr Gove will urge members of the House of Lords to pass the Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) Bill, which will stop businesses and organisations – including those affiliated with Israel – being targeted through ongoing boycotts by public bodies, leading to community tensions and a rise in antisemitism.

He is expected to stress that ensuring the safety of Jewish people is a moral duty for all to uphold, saying: “We must say to every Jewish citizen in this country - your safety is the best guarantee of our security, your freedom to live as you choose the only way we can be certain we remain a land of liberty, your future is our future. We said Never Again. And that is a promise we will never, ever, disavow.”