Priti Patel has reportedly demanded that the Metropolitan Police does more to prevent ‘Free Palestine’ convoys driving to London after the previous two convoys – as well as countless demonstrators around the country – were rocked by antisemitism.
According to a report in The Mail On Sunday, an ‘insider’ said: “The Home Secretary is not happy with the Commissioner [of the Met Police] on this issue and has repeatedly made her view clear that more should have been done to stop the convoys.”
The report went on to quote a ‘source close to the Home Secretary’ as saying that “These antisemitic incidents were designed to intimidate Jewish people. Clearly Priti was concerned about the impact.”
The report comes after a second convoy was permitted by the police to travel to London, under certain conditions, even after Campaign Against Antisemitism took legal advice which we provided to the police and the Home Office setting out the legal basis for prohibiting the returning convoy on the basis that it constitutes a “public procession” likely to cause “serious public disorder”, engaging section 13 of the Public Order Act 1986.
In the event, the Metropolitan Police chose not to avail itself of this legislation, even though it is specifically designed to prevent this kind of intimidation. This decision by the police was particularly disappointing after the previous ‘Free Palestine’ convoy drove through a Jewish neighbourhood shouting “F*** the Jews…rape their daughters” through megaphones, and a vehicle, believed to be from the convoy, chased a Jewish mother down a London street and rammed her car whilst she was driving her four-year-old child. Four men were arrested and bailed over the former incident and an alleged antisemitic incident committed in Manchester before the convoy arrived in London.
Although the second convoy was tailed by police, apparently from its inception in Bradford, it too exhibited antisemitism. The driver of one car shouted antisemitic abuse at a Jewish pedestrian in London, while passengers on the leading coach in the convoy were recorded having a conversation with antisemitic tropes. The convoy ended at a rally in Downing Street the featured numerous antisemitic signs and placards. The rally was addressed by Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell.
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s analysis of Home Office statistics shows that an average of over three hate crimes are directed at Jews every single day in England and Wales, with Jews almost four times more likely to be targets of hate crimes than any other faith group.