Anti-Palestinianism, suspect communities and racist backlash (7 – 21 November 2023)

Anti-Palestinianism, suspect communities and racist backlash (7 – 21 November 2023)


Written by: IRR News Team


Borders and internal controls 

11 November: The Telegraph claims that the policing and immigration ministers have asked all English and Welsh police forces to report foreign individuals caught in potentially ‘extremist activities’ that could ground revocation of visas, and have also asked the Community Security Trust to pass on the names of foreign nationals displaying ‘antisemitic behaviour’. (Al Jazeera, 11 November 2023) 

11 November: After the Home Office revokes the visa of exiled Egyptian TV host Moataz Matar and puts him on a watch list, preventing his return to the UK, Matar says he will sue the British government for accusing him of taking part in pro-Palestinian protests in London and supporting Hamas. (Al Jazeera, 11 November 2023, New Arab, 13 November 2023) 

20 November: Families of British citizens fleeing Gaza express anger at government guidance telling them to leave non-British family members in Egypt, in some cases separating infants from their mothers, and apply for family reunion later, and that they must pay for flights and visas – visa fees alone for three adults and two children are £16,000, with no offers of fee waivers, in contrast with other evacuations. (Guardian, 20 November 2023) 


8 November: Home secretary Suella Braverman attacks the police for ‘double standards’ after the Met gives the go-ahead for the pro-Palestine march on Armistice Day. She is criticised for an article in The Times where she accuses the police of caring more about avoiding ‘flak’ than tackling ‘mobs’. (Guardian, 8 November 2023) 

8 November: PM Sunak vows to hold the Met commissioner ‘accountable’ for defying demands to ban the pro-Palestine march on 11 November. (Guardian, 8 November 2023) 

10 November: 25 leading UK climate justice groups write to Ed Miliband, shadow minister for energy security and net zero, condemning Labour’s refusal to back a ceasefire in Gaza and pointing to the links between climate change, colonial oppression and dispossession and the ecological devastation caused by Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people, from the denial of clean water to the destruction of Palestinian agriculture. (Labour for a Green New Deal on X/Twitter, 10 November 2023)  

12 November: The UK government rejects the International Criminal Court’s right to investigate war crimes committed by Israel – something that Labour supports. (Guardian, 12 November 2023) 

12 November: ‘For the Republic and against anti-Semitism’ rallies in France are welcomed by president Macron, who accuses other politicians of exploiting them. Marine Le Pen (National Rally) signals her support for a demonstration that ‘takes a stand’ against ‘Islamic fundamentalism’. Hard left Jean-Luc Melenchon (La France Insoumise) says he cannot attend a rally that represents a ‘meeting of friends showing unconditional support for the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza’. (Le Monde, 12 November 2023) 

15 November: Ten Labour frontbenchers resign as they oppose the party leader and vote with the Scottish Nationalist Party for an explicit and immediate ceasefire in Gaza. (Guardian, 16 November 2023)  

16 November: Following complaints, mostly by Unionist MPs, over social media ‘pro-Palestinian comments’, Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Carroll is cleared by the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Standards Commissioner. (Belfast Telegraph, 16 November 2023) 

16 November: Irish president Michael D Higgins says that the European Commission president Ursula van der Leyden was ‘not speaking for Ireland’ when she expressed unconditional support for Israel on 16 October without acknowledging the ongoing occupation of Palestinian lands. (Al Jazeera, 17 November 2023) 

16 November: In Poland, a court overturns a decision by the mayor of Warsaw to ban a pro-Palestinian march which was set to finish outside the Israeli embassy. The mayor justified the ban on the ground of one antisemitic sign at a previous march (condemned by the organisers) and the ‘risk of terrorism’. (Notes from Poland, 16 November 2023) 

19 November: Labour shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves says that pro-Palestinian protesters ‘crossed the line from protest to intimidation’ by targeting MPs’ homes and offices, accusing them of acts of vandalism. Former Labour spin doctor Alistair Campbell accuses Green Party MPs of ‘nastiness’ and ‘intimidating behaviour’ for publishing a list of MPs who did not vote for a ceasefire. (Guardian, 19 November 2023, The National, 19 November 2023) 


10 November: Hope Not Hate reports that in the run-up to the London Armistice Day national demonstration calling for a Gaza ceasefire, far-right WhatsApp groups are awash with terrorist videos and extreme racism, with some fascists threatening to use crowbars and other weapons against pro-Palestinian demonstrators. (Hope Not Hate, 10 November 2023) 

11 November: As around 200 far-right supporters of EDL founder Tommy Robinson cause havoc in central London, chanting Islamophobic slogans as they attempt to gather in Chinatown to oppose the pro-Palestine march, the mayor of London says ‘the scenes of disorder by the far Right we witnessed at the Cenotaph are a direct result of the home secretary’s words’. Police issue dispersal orders and make 82 arrests for breach of the peace. (Guardian, 11 November 2023) 

12 November: Three people are injured after far-right activists, partially masked and armed with iron bars, try to force their way into a conference organised by the Palestine 69 Collective in Lyon, France. One man is arrested. (Euronews, 12 November 2023) 

13 November: A media investigation reveals that hundreds of football hooligans wearing stab vests were mobilised and prepared to attack pro-Palestine demonstrators on Armistice Day, with the private messaging board Discord set up by the ‘British Defence League’ filled with Islamophobic content. (Inews, 13 November 2023) 

Far-right riot at the Cenotaph on Armistice Day. Credit: HOPE not Hate


9 November: In Germany, Jewish Voice for a Just Peace criticises the banning of the ‘Never again fascism – Remembering Kristallnacht’ demonstration in Frankfurt, with the authorities apparently arguing that the demonstration could be linked to pro-Palestinian activities. (Jewish voice for a Just Peace on X/Twitter, 9 November 2023) 

10 November: The European Legal Support Group says German police are acting almost as if there is a ‘state of emergency’ and are ‘drawing the law’ on what is permitted at pro-Palestine protests ‘on the street’. A police spokesperson justifies the removal of banners at a Berlin pro-Palestine protest as being in line with previous guidelines on the Middle East conflict, saying a public prosecutor had been available in the operations room during the protest to answer any legal questions. (Al Jazeera, 10 November 2023) 

Berlin Demo for a ceasefire, November 2023. Credit: @salah_said90

13 November: John Woodcock, government adviser on political violence and disruption, recommends giving police stronger powers to ban demonstrations, claiming that largely peaceful pro-Palestinian marches are ‘clearly a factor’ in intimidation of Jewish communities, and the ‘scale of intimidation’ Jewish communities are experiencing should be treated as a ‘national emergency’. (Guardian, 13 November 2023) 


8 November: The French interior minister starts a ‘dissolution process’ against ‘groups indirectly and secretly acting as intermediary for, and financing, Hamas, or movements close to Hamas’. ‘Terrorist apologist’ investigations have been launched against New Anticapitalist Party, La France Insoumise MP Danièle Obono, and the Party of the Indigènes de la République. Proceedings are launched against a Nice football player, two trades unionists and a socialist politician from Échirolles. (Le Monde Diplomatique, November 2023) 

13 November: David Anderson KC, a former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, criticises government proposals to broaden the scope of the law on the glorification of terrorism, arguing that ‘it is dangerous in principle to legislate for criminal offences that are far broader than the conduct to which they are actually directed’. (Guardian, 13 November 2023) 

16 November: German police conduct raids of 56 locations in seven federal states, announcing it is searching for objects relating to the Islamic Centre of Hamburg, which is suspected of supporting Hezbollah and has ‘long been under surveillance by German intelligence services’ who consider it an extension of the Iranian regime in Germany, with influence over certain mosques and associations. (Deutsche Welle, 16 November 2023) 


7 November: The chair of the Liverpool Hope branch of the University and College Union (UCU) writes to the university’s vice-chancellor asking why Professor Avi Shlaim, an authority on the Israel-Palestine conflict, was disinvited from giving a long-scheduled lecture at the university in October, for unspecified ‘safety concerns’. (BRICUP, 7 November 2023) 

11 November: No More Exclusions publishes a list of resources to signpost children and young people, who have been at the heart of actions, protests and solidarity with the people of Palestine, to access legal support and other information. (No More Exclusions, November 2023) 

12 November: Uri Horesh, a lecturer in sociolinguistics at Achva Academic College in southern Israel and also visiting lecturer at the University of Essex, is fired from his Israeli university post for calling for an end to Israeli genocidal actions in Gaza. (Twitter, 12 November 2023) 

13 November: Matt Bennett, University of Essex senior research officer, warns that university managements are clamping down on freedom of expression, leaving academics who publicly express solidarity for Gaza at risk of being labelled ‘extremist’ and ‘supporters of terrorism’. He cites campus security at one university preventing students from distributing leaflets, and a senior administrator at another emailing all staff labelling a student Palestine solidarity rally as ‘likely to be supportive of Hamas terrorism’. (Al Jazeera, 13 November 2023) 

14 November: Citing the turbulent global situation and the ‘highly polarised social climate’, Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, bans all political demonstrations and posters on campus. The decision follows campus rallies where students demanded boycotts of Israeli universities in protest at the war in Gaza. (The Local, 14 November 2023) 

16 November: As part of the National School Strike for Palestine initiative, schoolchildren in Tower Hamlets, London, walk out of classes demanding a ceasefire in Gaza and protesting against Rushanara Ali MP’s abstention in the parliamentary vote on a ceasefire. (Socialist Worker, 16 November 2023, Evening Standard, 17 November 2023) 


8 November: Muslim, Palestinian, and Arab Google employees reveal in an open letter the ‘hate, abuse, and retaliation’ they have faced. Executives and managers are accused of a double standard for freedom of expression for Israeli and Arab, Muslim, and Palestinian employees, ‘standing idle’ when Palestinians are described as ‘animals’ on office Google work platforms’, with Muslim employees forced to endure accusations of ‘ supporting terrorism’. (No Tech for Apartheid, 8 November 2023) 

9 November: Palestinian human rights and civil society organisations express deep concern about the silencing of Palestinian identity and voices on Meta’s digital platforms. WhatsApp’s AI image generator created emojis of gun-wielding children when prompted with ‘Palestinian’, and Instagram’s AI-translation model replaced ‘Palestinianالحمد الله’ with ‘Palestinian Terrorist’. The Palestinian Digital Rights Coalition calls on Meta to end its deep-rooted AI bias, end the promotion of hate speech in Hebrew, and release a comprehensive audit of all datasets used for AI training in content moderation. (Al Haq, 9 November 2023) 

10 November: BBC Newsnight is criticised for failing to declare that an interviewee introduced as an expert heads a charity funded by and raising money for the Israeli Defence Force (IDF). Colonel Richard Kemp, a retired British officer, has been cited favourably by at least 80 national and international news outlets on the Israel-Hamas conflict since 7 October. (Action on Armed Violence, 10 November 2023) 

11 November: X, formerly known as Twitter, is criticised for reinstating Tommy Robinson, who mobilised the far-right protest against supporters of Palestine on Armistice weekend, thereby allowing him access to the mainstream of social media. (Guardian, 12 November 2023)  

11 November: The Sun and Jewish Chronicle attack Labour MPs and former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for attending pro-Palestinian rallies alongside ‘activists who have made online posts sympathetic to Hamas’, including Ziad El Aloul, a former director of the Palestinian Forum in Britain. The Times focuses on ‘fringe groups’ on the sides of the march allegedly supporting Hamas, singling out the Revolutionary Communist Group of Britain. (Sun, 11 November 2023, Times, 11 November 2023, Jewish Chronicle, 14 November 2023)) 

13 November: The Jewish Chronicle, citing Gnasher Jew digital investigative unit, accuses the Birmingham-based Global Relief Trust, which inter alia supports medical services in Gaza, of ‘collaborating with Hamas and employing a commander from the terror group’. The Charity Commission says it is assessing the information. (Jewish Chronicle, 13 November 2023) 

14 November: Eventbrite takes down a Palestine Action fundraising event for activists arrested for shutting down Israeli arms factories on the ground that the event ‘could contribute to the risk of harm or incite violence’. (Palestine Action Trial Support Fundraiser on Instagram, 14 November 2023) 

Eventbrite deplatformifng notice. Credit: @lisaminervaluxx

14 November: The Israeli government is reported to be paying social media companies for content that targets British and American audiences to cultivate support for its war on Gaza. Some of the adverts encourage viewers to share the hashtag #StandWithIsrael. (Declassified, 14 November 2023) 

14 November: The English Football Association suspend Wasim Haq, a council member representing diverse communities, after he said ‘Adolf Hitler would be proud of Benjamin Netanyahu’. (Guardian, 14 November 2023) 

14 November: In Germany, the Museum Folkwang closes a portion of an exhibition on Afrofuturism after the curator, Anaïs Duplan, made a series of posts supporting Palestinians. In an email sent to Duplan, the museum director, Peter Gorschlüter, states that posts which described Israel’s occupation of Gaza as genocidal were ‘unacceptable’. (ARTnews, 14 November 2023) 

14 November: In the Netherlands, 12 filmmakers pull out of the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam following a call to withdraw made by the Palestine Film Institute (PFI). The boycott follows the festival’s banning of the phrase ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ and its condemnation of peaceful protestors who held a banner with the slogan. (Guardian, 14 November 2023) 

15 November: Footballer Anwar El Ghazi begins a legal action against his former club Mainz 05 after his contract was terminated in response to a series of posts he made expressing support for Palestine. The UK Football Policing Unit has also been made aware of several abusive messages from UK-based accounts which call El Ghazi a terrorist and make death threats against him and his family. (BBC Sport, 15 November 2023) 

15 November: The Middle East Monitor says the international press, from Fox News to CNN and some of the world’s most respected newspapers and periodicals, is propagating a campaign against a ceasefire in Gaza led by the US government and Fox News, which rests on the claim that those who advocate for a ceasefire are ‘naïve’ and ‘ill-informed’. (MEMO, 15 November 2023) 

16 November: Chinese dissident and artist Ai Weiwei’s new exhibition at the Lisson Gallery in London is cancelled following a post on X about Gaza which was later deleted. His exhibitions in New York, Paris and Berlin, are also called off. Ai Weiwei addressed the question of Palestine in his 2017 documentary Human Flow. (The New Arab, 16 November 2023) 

Ai Weiwei in Gaza for his film Human Flow, 2017. Credit: Getty Images

17 November: The Arts Council launches an investigation into 87 Press, a radical poetry publisher, for possible breach of its grant conditions, following criticism by the Jewish Chronicle of social media posts on Gaza from its director Azad Ashim Sharma. (Jewish Chronicle, 17 November 2023) 

13 November: The publisher Verso launches ‘Palestine Uncensored: Diaries of Censorship’, soliciting testimonies from individuals or organisations who have faced censorship, punishment or retribution for demanding justice for Palestinians. (Verso, 18 November 2023) 

Image: Verso Blogs series on Palestine Uncensored. Credit: Verso Books

20 November: The editors of an online blog at the London School of Economics are accused of censorship after rejecting an article by LSE professor James Hughes, an expert on political violence and terrorism, on the salience of Conservatives’ ‘deep contacts with Israel’ to the government’s stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The editors say the blog did not meet editorial guidelines, but they would consider a revised version. Electronic Intifada, 20 November 2023) 


7 November: In a speech in parliament, Apsana Begum, Labour MP for Poplar and Limehouse, London, reveals that she is facing serious threats, including threats to ‘rip off’ her hijab in public and death threats. (Belfast Telegraph, 7 November 2023)  

7 November: An investigation is launched after Islamophobic and racist graffiti are found in the Woodford County High School for Girls in Redbridge, east London. Parents, carers and school staff are written to, an investigation is launched, and the graffiti removed. (Romford Recorder, 7 November 2023)  

9 November: A sevenfold increase in Islamophobic crimes is reported by Tell MAMA including: Acton mosque splashed with red paint three times in two weeks; a pig’s head dumped at a proposed mosque in the market town of Barnoldswick, Lancashire; a veiled Muslim woman in north London accused of supporting terrorist organisations by a man following her in a car; Shakeshuka, a central London restaurant, receiving 20 abusive phone calls on one morning alone, with two members of staff leaving over fears for their safety. (ITVx, 9 November 2023) 

13 November: Eight minors are arrested in France after being filmed chanting antisemitic slogans on the Paris metro on 31 October. (Le Monde, 13 November 2023) 

18 November: The Palestinian Mission in the UK is attacked for the fourth time in the last few weeks, with death threats, damage to vehicles and vandalism to the property also recorded. It renews its attack on the UK government for its ‘inexplicable and unacceptable’ failure to provide diplomatic protection, in line with international norms. (Palestine Mission, 19 November 2023) 

Feature: Pixellated image at Palestine demo calling MPs to vote for a ceasefire on 15 November.

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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