By Jenni Frazer
A senior British government official has offered a hint that the authorities may yet clamp down on the attempt by far-right activists to hold a rally on 4 July protesting against the “Jewification” of Golders Green.
Speaking at the Westminster conference on UK-Israel Shared Strategies on Monday, Sally Sealey, senior policy adviser on hate crime at the Department of Communities and Local Government, said: “Because of the Human Rights Act we cannot ban the rally, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t in negotiations to see if the process can be moved – and we are in negotiations about it as we speak.”
“The government has been very clear that a group of neo-Nazis marching through Golders Green is not ideal. Rest assured we are working on that.” She was responding to comments by the Board of Deputies’ chief executive Gillian Merron, who observed that often “the fear of anti-Semitism is harder to measure than actual anti- Semitic acts.”
Referring to the proposed rally, Merron said: “Our response has been to tackle this head on and to challenge [it]. It’s not just been an issue for the Jewish community, but one in which all communities in Golders Green have come together and fought under the slogan ‘Golders Green Together’.
At the Westminster conference, a ‘toxic’ coalition of the hard right, the hard left, and extremist Muslims, was identified by all panellists from Britain and Europe in the session on the growth of anti-Semitism, jointly held with the World Jewish Congress’ and moderated by its general counsel, Menachem Rosensaft.
The panellists included Mark Gardner of the Community Security Trust, Fulvio Martusciello, president of the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with Israel, Robert Ejnes of the French representative body, Crif, and Maajid Nawaz of the Quilliam Foundation. Nawaz decried a situation that he called “the Voldemort effect”, after the unnamed villain of the Harry Potter books. “We have to recognise that the majority of anti-Semitic incidents in the UK are disproportionately conducted by Muslim extremists,” he said, adding that “a culture has emerged, led by President Obama himself, instead of calling it an Islamist ideology, it is referred to as an extremist ideology.”
The danger, he said, in not being able to name the ideology was to make people fear it even more.