British website: The extremists are Sunak and Starmer, not the defenders of Gaza and Palestine British website: The extremists are Sunak and Starmer, not the defenders of Gaza and Palestine

British website: The extremists are Sunak and Starmer, not the defenders of Gaza and Palestine


British website: The extremists are Sunak and Starmer, not the defenders of Gaza and Palestine

London - The British website “Middle East Eye” published an article by Peter Oborne, a writer and commentator on the website, entitled “The War on Gaza: The real extremists in Britain are the politicians,” in which he commented on the Conservative government’s plans to expand the definition of “extremism” to serve Its political purposes, and the position of the labor opposition supporting this step.

 He said: “In 1912, MP Count Hemsley, who was destined to die several years later with countless others on the Western Front in the First World War, was the first MP to use the term ‘extremism’ in the British Parliament. The term was used to warn against the women's liberation movement, which demanded the right to vote in elections. A few years later, women gained the right to vote, and politicians stopped using the term extremism against women’s liberationists.”

Extremism has been used as a rhetorical tool to attack women's liberation advocate Emmeline Pankhurst or Mahatma Gandhi. They can therefore be ostracized or ignored, ridiculed, slandered, and imprisoned.

However, the writer discovered, while researching his book “The Fate of Abraham: Why the West Was Wrong About Islam,” that British political elites and the media began applying the term to supporters of Indian independence.

It is easy to see what is going on here. Extremism has been exploited as a rhetorical tool to attack women's liberation advocate Emmeline Pankhurst or Mahatma Gandhi and his National Congress Party, and consider them outside the usual and acceptable views. Therefore, they can be ostracized or ignored, ridiculed, defamed in the media, criminalized, and imprisoned.

Today, Gandhi has become one of the greatest statesmen of the twentieth century, while opponents of Indian independence are viewed as true extremists. While the struggle of Pankhurst and her powerful daughter, Christabel, was recognized with a monument outside the British Parliament, no one remembered those who launched the attack against them, or looked at them with contempt.

These days, the media and politicians target British Muslims on charges of extremism.

A specific group of Muslims, along with ceasefire advocates in Gaza, were demonized, ridiculed in Parliament and vilified in the media.

In his speech last week in front of Government House, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak warned that protesters against the Gaza war were “tearing us apart,” warning that Britain’s streets had been “hijacked” by violent extremist preachers calling for jihad. He ordered the Communities Secretary, Michael Gove, to introduce a new definition of extremism.

According to briefings published by The Times newspaper, where Gove once worked, “a new government unit will be created to combat extremism,” and it will “assess the situation in which the definition has been breached.” Under the new definition, groups and individuals who fall within the definition will be prohibited from receiving government support and communicating with its officials, and they will be prohibited from working with state institutions.

Lord Woolney, the government's adviser on political violence, indicated that the solidarity campaign with Palestine would be the main goal of the new regime.

A specific group of Muslims, along with Gaza ceasefire advocates, have been demonized, ridiculed in parliament and vilified in the media.

As the nights and days passed, the British media adopted the position of Sunak, Gove and Wallney. Labor leader Keir Starmer was quick to praise the Prime Minister's latest intervention.

 The writer wondered about future historians' assessment of these events, and their interpretation of what happened during the past months. Will they praise Sunak's decision to provide unequivocal support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the eve of the attack on Gaza? Will they view Sunak’s decision to suspend support for UNRWA, the only organization capable of providing humanitarian aid to hungry Palestinians, as a decision by a “moderate” British Prime Minister?

How will they judge Sunak’s decision to continue providing military support to Israel in light of the International Court of Justice’s decision, which spoke of the existence of a reasonable basis for a state of genocide in Gaza?

What will be the position of historians in the future regarding the recent smear campaign launched by 10 Downing Street against the protest marches in solidarity with Palestine? What will history judge of Starmer, and the support he expressed at the beginning of the war, and repeated by shadow ministers, for collective punishment of Gaza, including depriving the population of water and electricity?

Oborne comments: “I am no Nostradamus, but I can intuit that future generations will look back with shame and horror at the idea of ​​the two main parties in Britain throwing their weight behind Netanyahu. “I am puzzled by the Prime Minister’s decision to suspend support for besieged Gaza, which is facing famine.”

As in the case of the women's liberation and suffrage movement and Indian independence, history will judge that the real extremists were not, as Sunak asserts, the “Palestine Solidarity Campaign,” which organized an astonishing series of peaceful marches across Britain. “I now believe that the real extremists are Downing Street, the Conservative Party, and the Labor Party led by Starmer.”

All you have to do is read what the Open Democracy website published in February, stating that the rate of arrests in pro-Palestine protests is much lower than the arrests made by the police during the Glastonbury music festival last year. In the period between October and December, when millions took part in pro-Palestine demonstrations, the number of those arrested by the police did not exceed 153 people, and 117 people were released without charges. However, the government portrays the demonstrations as a group of “mobs” and an extremist threat. Oboron comments that you do not need to wait for the verdict of history to judge what Sunak said, and that there are “forces inside that are trying to tear us apart.”

Auburn: I can intuit that future generations will look back with shame and horror at the idea of ​​Britain's two main parties throwing their weight behind Netanyahu.

 In an attempt to appear balanced and fair, he said that Islamists and the extreme right are two sides of the same coin, and both represent a threat to British democracy. The question is, who is the extreme right in the eyes of the government? “Clearly, it is not former Home Secretary Suella Braverman who said: Islamists now rule Britain.” “When Lee Anderson, MP and former Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party, announced that London Mayor Sadiq Khan was under the control of Islamists, Sunak did not bother and described the statements as anti-Islamic and racist, in addition to being extremist.”

Last week, MP Paul Scully repeated conspiracy theories spread by the far right, that parts of London and Birmingham have become “no-go zones” for non-Muslims, and no one denounced his words.

On March 3, The Times newspaper published that “the Home Office is preparing a list of names of extremist preachers who will be banned from entering Britain.” There is no need to speculate on who will be on the government’s list, and “it was understood that officials would be asked to identify symbols from countries, including Pakistan and Indonesia, to include them on the banned list,” that is, from a Muslim-majority country in South Asia, and the largest country in terms of the number of Muslims in South Africa.

However, Conservative MP Bob Blackman was denounced for inviting Tapan Ghosh to the House of Commons in 2017. Ghosh is a Hindu nationalist extremist who called on the United Nations to provide birth control for Muslims and support the extermination of Rohingya Muslims in Burma. Blackman claimed that he was not aware of Ghosh's statements.

Last year, Sunak linked himself with Murari Babu, the influential Hindu preacher who helped build the Ayadeo Temple on the ruins of the Babri Mosque, which was built in the 16th century and remained standing until December 6, when Hindu mobs destroyed it.

In August 2023, Sunak made a surprise visit to Jesus College at the University of Cambridge, which hosted a Hindu event led by the preacher. Sunak said: “I am truly honored to be here today with Murari Babu Ram Katha at the University of Cambridge, and on India’s Independence Day. “I am not here today as the Prime Minister, but as a Hindu.”

In the end, extremism cannot be defined objectively. But in the hands of an unscrupulous government, the definition carries false credibility, forcing it to use it as a weapon against any group.

The question here is: Why was Michael Gove allowed to conduct a government review into extremism? As Education Secretary, 10 years ago, Gove started a debunked anti-Islam conspiracy theory known as the “Trojan Horse,” which claimed that “Islamists” were conspiring to take over Birmingham city schools.

In the end, extremism cannot be defined objectively. But in the hands of an unscrupulous government, the definition carries false credibility, forcing it to use it as a weapon against any group.

This week, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign will organize another march. But those who represent the real danger to Britain and its social fabric are the Conservatives led by Sunak, not the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

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