Why can’t the Met admit that swastikas are anti-Semitic?

The two-tier policing of the anti-Israel demos gets more absurd by the day.

Thomas Osborne

Topics Politics UK

Is the Nazi swastika an anti-Semitic symbol? Incredibly, London’s Metropolitan Police seem unable to give a clear answer to this strikingly simple question.

During last week’s anti-Israel march in London, a Jewish woman was filmed complaining to a policeman about several placards that displayed the swastika – an all-too-common sight at these supposedly peaceful demos. She asked the officer whether he thought the swastika is an anti-Semitic symbol, and if displaying it would fall foul of Britain’s usually stringent hate-speech laws.

The officer seemed baffled by the question. He said he could not tell whether the law had been broken. As to whether the swastika is anti-Semitic, he said: ‘Everything needs to be taken within context, doesn’t it?’

When the woman pushed back, the officer pleaded ignorance once again. ‘I don’t have an in-depth knowledge of signs and symbols. I know the swastika was used by the Nazi Party… I am aware of that’, he said.

The officer’s plea for ‘context’ brings to mind a similar incident back in October. When a mob of Hizb ut-Tahrir members descended on London, calling for Muslim armies to wage ‘Jihad! Jihad! Jihad!’ against Israel, the Met Police did nothing and then made excuses for the Islamists. ‘The word jihad has a number of meanings’, the Metropolitan Police tweeted from its official X account. Apparently, anyone who might have been alarmed by this call to wage a holy war just didn’t understand the context.

Now, here at spiked, we believe that nobody should be criminalised for expressing their views, no matter how repugnant they might be. Freedom of expression means nothing if it does not extend to the bigoted and hateful – and that includes those marchers waving swastikas or chanting for ‘jihad’. Nevertheless, the two-tiered policing of hate is now impossible to ignore, and it reflects an alarming blindspot where anti-Semitism is concerned.

It seems the same officers who would happily break down your door for tweeting a spicy meme about the trans debate will either ignore or actively downplay very obvious examples of anti-Semitism. Worse still, those who are challenging anti-Semitism have often found themselves in the crosshairs. Last month, we had the absurd spectacle of a man being arrested after holding up a sign calling Hamas a ‘terrorist’ organisation. He was rounded on by a group of Hamas fanboys, but the Met decided to arrest him instead of the baying mob. Back in October, volunteers with the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism were also threatened with arrest over some mobile billboards displaying images of the children who were kidnapped by Hamas. Supposedly, drawing attention to Hamas’s anti-Semitic crimes would constitute a ‘breach of the peace’.

This is where the scandal of two-tiered policing has brought us. We have the police bending over backwards to protect the feelings of Islamists and anti-Semites, while dismissing and downplaying any hatred that’s directed at London’s Jews. The Met really cannot go on like this.

Thomas Osborne is an editorial assistant at spiked.

Picture by: X.

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Topics Politics UK


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