Gove: Surge in anti-Semitism not unlike rise of Nazis

Michael Gove
'The safety of the Jewish community is the canary in the mine,' Michael Gove will say - Jordan Pettitt/PA

Michael Gove has compared the surge in anti-Semitism in the UK to the rise of Nazis in Germany.

In a speech at a Jewish community centre in London on Tuesday, the Communities Secretary will warn that the safety of the Jewish community is the “canary in the mine” in acting as an early warning sign of threats to cherished freedoms in the UK.

He will say anti-Semitism is the common currency of hate that unites extremist groups – whether Islamist, Right-wing or hard-Left – whom he has pledged to tackle as divisive and a threat to community cohesion.

It follows figures showing a record high of 4,103 anti-Semitic incidents last year, up 147 per cent on the previous year.

Some 2,699 were in the period on or after the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel on Oct 7, equivalent to 66 per cent of the annual total.

On Tuesday, the Home Office will publish the long-awaited independent review into political violence and disruption in the UK by the independent adviser Lord Walney.

The report will set out more than 40 recommendations on ways for ministers and public bodies to deal with violent and disruptive protests.

In his speech, Mr Gove will say organisers of the pro-Palestinian marches in cities across the UK are failing to do enough to prevent the display of anti-Semitic symbols.

Within the next month, he will publicly name and shame extremist organisations that the Government claims have sought to subvert democracy and promote hatred.

He named three Muslim groups in Parliament to be investigated over extremism fears.

Any on the final list will be barred from any government funding or contact.

Pro-Palestine march
Pro-Palestine marchers are side by side with those promoting hate, Mr Gove will say

On Tuesday, Mr Gove will say: “It’s an ironclad 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 1930s, 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.

‘Fever which weakens whole body politic’

“The safety of the Jewish community is the canary in the mine.

“Growing Anti-Semitism is a fever which weakens the whole body politic.

“And 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. Anti-Semitism. It is the common currency of hate.

“It is at the dark heart of their world view. Whether Islamist. Far-Right. Or hard-Left.”

Pro-Palestine activists in Berlin
Pro-Palestine activists in Berlin. It is a highly sensitive issue because of Germany's Nazi history - Axel Schmidt/Getty

Referring to recent protest marches, Mr Gove will 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.”

The Secretary of State will urge members of the House of Lords to pass legislation to stop to 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 Anti-Semitism.

He is expected to stress that ensuring the safety of Jewish people is a moral duty for all to uphold: “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.”