Tory MP Michael Fabricant has come under fire for his statements made on Twitter which described participants of pro-Palestinian demonstrations in London over the weekend as “primitives”.
Conservative MP Michael Fabricant has deleted his racist tweet last night.— Miqdaad Versi (@miqdaad) May 17, 2021
He has not apologised.
Unsurprisingly, the Conservative Party declined to comment despite his history.
The backbencher was slammed by anti-racism campaign Hope Not Hate, which urged the Conservative Party to suspend the politician for “hateful racism that stirs up division”.
The tense situation requires steady leadership from people who want to bring communities together, not hateful racism that stirs up division. The @Conservatives must suspend Michael Fabricant for this disgraceful comment. https://t.co/tcefApWiCz— HOPE not hate (@hopenothate) May 16, 2021
Largely peaceful demonstrations took place across the UK over the weekend against the backdrop of the current escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Thousands of people marched through central London to the Israeli embassy chanting "free Palestine".
Scenes from a recent demonstration in the streets of central London with pro-Palestinian activists & supporters walking in support of the Palestinian cause#Palestine #Israel #Israeli #gaza #GazaUnderAttack #Palestinian #GazaStrip #FreePalestine #HumanRights #civilwar #Jerusalem pic.twitter.com/NbUhpVma39— Khawaja Foundation (@khawajafndn) May 16, 2021
The MP for Lichfield shared a video of some of the demonstrators clashing with police outside the diplomatic mission embassy, tweeting that “primitives are trying to bring to London what they do in the Middle East”.
While Fabricant deleted the message after the backlash it triggered, Hope Not Hate said in a statement:
“The tense situation requires steady leadership from people who want to bring communities together, not hateful racism that stirs up division. The Conservatives must suspend Michael Fabricant for this disgraceful comment.”
The tweet has been deleted now, without explanation or apology. It’s on the Conservative Party to act. https://t.co/PzlJ3cptVL— HOPE not hate (@hopenothate) May 16, 2021
The advocacy group’s ire was shared by Sunder Katwala, director of the British Future thinktank. Katwala went on Twitter to underscore the “racism” in Michael Fabricant’s tweet.
* This violence is wrong.— Sunder Katwala (@sundersays) May 16, 2021
* This is a racist tweet from an MP - "these primitives are trying to bring to London what *they do in the Middle East*" https://t.co/eerq4UR7aq
Anybody who realises that it is racist to hold British Jews responsible for Israeli policy should also be able recognise the racism here in Michael Fabricant's tweet.— Sunder Katwala (@sundersays) May 16, 2021
The Tory MP attempted to justify his statements, pointing out that “attacks on the British police as shown in the video are disgraceful”.
“It is primitive behaviour by people who preach antisemitism or racism of any kind, whether they be Jewish, Christian or Muslim. And the sort of antisemitism displayed by Hamas in the Middle East must not be repeated here in the UK,” he was quoted by PA news agency as saying.
Protests Against Violence
Earlier, footage from another incident that went viral on social media on Sunday showed a convoy of vehicles draped with Palestinian flags moving around Finchley Road. Passengers in one of the vehicles appeared to be yelling anti-Semitic slurs and threats through a megaphone.
This is from Snapchat, might help identify. pic.twitter.com/TEX8RRzF4J— Joshua Zitser (@mrjoshz) May 16, 2021
The video was quick to generate condemnation, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeting to say there was no “place for antisemitism” in the country.
There is no place for antisemitism in our society. Ahead of Shavuot, I stand with Britain’s Jews who should not have to endure the type of shameful racism we have seen today.— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) May 16, 2021
On Sunday, crowds had marched through Hyde Park before arriving outside the gates of the Israeli embassy in Kensington.
A spokesperson for the organisers, that included the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Friends of Al-Aqsa, Palestinian Forum in Britain, Stop The War Coalition, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the Muslim Association of Britain, was quoted as saying:
"It is vital that the UK government takes immediate action. It must stop allowing Israel's brutal violence against and oppression of the Palestinian people to go unpunished."
Nine officers were reported to have sustained injuries when attempting to disperse crowds on Saturday, with 13 arrests were made, according to the Metropolitan police.