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Internet platform for studying Xenophobia, Radicalism and Problems of Intercultural communication. Internet platform for studying Xenophobia, Radicalism and Problems of Intercultural communication. 

Xenophobic Rhetoric

Xenophobic Rhetoric Leader of the British National Party (BNP) Nick Griffin

The number of anti-Semitic statements had increased dramatically after the Gaza conflict broke out in July-August 2014.

On March 15, 2014, leader of the British National Party Nick Griffin said at the European Parliament that immigration is a “conspiracy mechanism of the leftists and Zionists” to “solve the problem of European Christians”.

On May 6, 2014, former Mayor of London Ken Livingston said that Jews tend to vote Conservative, because they are rich.

On August 8, George Galloway MP announced his constituency, Bradford, an “Israeli-free area”. He urged the local authorities to make every effort to achieve this goal and get rid of Israeli goods and services, sever all academic cooperation and even ban Israeli tourists. Liberal Democrat MP David Ward supported Mr Galloway, stating that this protest should be held across the whole country, similar to campaigns against the apartheid regime in South Africa. Several weeks prior to that, Mr Ward stated that if he lived in Gaze, he would also hurl rockets at Israel. Although, he later apologised for his statement.

On October 28, 2014, David Ward tweeted that MPs are being controlled by Israel.

On September 29, leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband addressed Labour Friends of Palestine, a pro-Palestine organisation, where he defended his party’s support for the recognition of a Palestinian state within the concept of two states. He added that Israel’s actions are wrong and “unjustifiable”.

On October 19, British Conservative Andrew Bridgen talked about the “power of Jewish lobby in America”, speaking in Parliament.

On July 31, 2014, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Luftur-Rahman – a Muslim of Bangladeshi origin – decided to hang the flag of Palestine over the city hall to “support the ceasefire”.

On August 5, Glasgow City Council decided to hang the Palestinian flag as a “gesture of humanitarian solidarity towards the innocent civilians in Gaza, who disproportionally suffered from the economic blockade and the intervention of Israeli army.”

In late November, Leicester City Council decided to prohibit the import and sale of goods made in Israel. Members of the Council, where the oppositional Labour party has 51 out of 55 seats, voted in favour of boycotting Israeli goods despite their leader, Ed Miliband, stating he is against any boycotts. On Twitter, among trending hashtags, were “HitlerWasRight” and “HitlerDidNothingWrong”.

On September 28, 2014, British Muslim scientist Refi Shafi (known as Abu Rumaysah) posted a lesson online, where he stated that Jews are corrupt by nature and Hitler was trying to prevent the implementation of the Protocols of Elders of Zion.

In late September, 2014, Labour candidate to Walking Council (London) Vicky Kirby made a number of anti-Semitic tweets. In one of them, she wondered why Islamists are not attacking “the real oppressors - #Israel”. In another tweet, she reportedly said, “We invented Israel when saving them from Hitler, who now seems to be their teacher,” following this up with a promise to make sure her kids “teach their children how evil Israel is”.

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Anti-Semitism is common in the British segment of the internet. By the end of 2014, it was reported that 68% of users encountered anti-Semitic manifestations online in the past 12 months.

Islamophobia is also widespread in the UK. On July 20, 2015, Prime Minister David Cameron wrote in The Telegraph about the need to control documents when opening bank accounts, issuing driving licenses, etc. to prevent illegal migration. Cameron announced that the right to family reunification will be considered by courts, taking into account the “public interest”. This arbitrary approach allows for abuse. He also announced the reduction of quotas for migrant employment, to facilitate employment of native British people.

Speaking on the adoption of the new Immigration Act in July 2015, he said that most British Muslims are not able to integrate into the social structure of the country. Such statements of the leader of the ruling party were immediately interpreted as racism.

On February 4, 2015, UKIP immigration spokesman and MEP, Gerard Batten has demanded Muslims sign a declaration rejecting violence and accepting the need to modify the Qur'an. Further he proposed a ban on building new mosques in Europe.

On April 21, 2015, a number of British politicians condemned the UK Independence Party (UKIP) for its election posters, which humiliated foreign workers and urged voters to “take back our country”.

Gary Port, a UKIP candidate in Greenwich, said: «I do not think it is clear whether the BNP is racist…”. UKIP member Andrew Lempitt said in late April that immigrants supposedly take jobs away from British.

On May 31st, 2015, Pastor James McConnell, speaking to the congregation at the Belfast Whitwell Protestant Church called Islam "paganism" and a "satanic cult". Additionally, the priest said that "Muslim cells" appeared across the whole of Britain threatening the Christian population. Parishioner of the church, First Minister Peter Robinson spoke in support of James McConnell. Moreover, the politician announced condemnation of the "false prophecy", which obviously meant Islam, to be any priest's duty.

On June 18, 2015, First Minister of Northern Ireland Peter Robinson questioned whether the demonstration at a Nigerian national’s house was racist, saying that most likely it was caused by the housing shortage. On June 25, Conservative MP Michael Fabricant posted a comment online, where he said he wanted to kick a famous Muslim journalist Yasmine Alibhai-Brown “in the thoat”.

On December 5, 2015, former Employment Minister and current Labour MP Frank Field said that while immigrants make a positive contribution to the economy, it is “a lot less than people think”. On December 5, Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts – a long-time head of a brewery – said that the increase of Muslims in Britain is “killing” the pub and brewing business, “In Nottingham, Leicester, Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham the increase of the non-drinking Muslim population has led to many pubs going bust.” He added that this is especially difficult for someone who gave 10 years of his life to building this business.

After the success of right-wing parties in local and general elections, the ruling Conservative party shifted its policies to the right, towards anti-immigration rhetoric. This trend eventually led to David Cameron’s gamble with nationalists and the Brexit referendum, which resulted in an unexpected vote to for Britain to leave the European Union.

In August 2016 the United Nations’ (UN) Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) found that British politicians involved in the campaign to Leave the European Union (many of whom were members of the ruling Conservative Party) had used rhetoric which was xenophobic, divisive and explicitly anti-immigrant. Further, it alleged that this rhetoric was causally linked to the over 3,000 allegations of hate crimes that were made to UK police – “mainly in the form of harassment and threats – in the week before and the week after the 23 June vote, a year-on-year increase of 42%.”

Looking into specific anti-minority rhetoric in 2017, there were a few instances of British MPs engaging in racist, xenophobic or discriminatory speech. Perhaps one of the highest profile cases was that of the MP for Newton Abbott, Anne Marie Morris. She was suspended from the Conservative Party in July 2017 for describing the prospect of the UK leaving the EU with no deal as ‘the real n****r in the woodpile’. The phrase was used at a private event organised by the Politeia think tank, and was roundly condemned as ‘belong[ing] to the era of Jim Crow.’ The UK government stopped short of withdrawing the whip from Morris – one of the stiffest Parliamentary penalties for a sitting MP.

Looking more closely at the Government level, Greg Hands, a Trade Minister within the Department for Exiting the European Union, became embroiled in controversy over an anti-Semitic tweet. Taking target at a Labour MP who had been suspended over accusations of sexual harassment, Hands described the MP in question, Ivan Lewis, as a ‘Jewish Blairite’ but apologised shortly after for a ‘carelessly worded’ tweet and deleted his original comments. His original remarks were used to make a comparison between the Lewis case (i.e. suspension) and the verbal reprimand received by another Labour MP in 2010 for calling a black London Greater Assembly Member a ‘ghetto boy’. On a similar anti-Semitic theme, news came to light in December 2017 that pro-Israeli activists had been barred from a meeting at which the Palestinian Authority ambassador, Manuel Hassassian, had given a speech – accusing the UK of ‘still doing trade relations and still sympathising with the Jews as being the victims of the Holocaust. Enough of this rhetoric. We have made and paid for this historic concession…’ The Scottish National Party MP, Mark Sheppard, was subsequently investigated by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards for breach of the MP’s Code of Conduct after it came to light that he had hosted the event. Hassassian later denied his comments were anti-Semitic.

Finally, and looking towards anti-Muslim rhetoric, there were several instances of British MPs being involved in Islamophobic conduct in 2017. In October 2017, for example, Conservative MP for Harrow East, Bob Blackman, invited anti-Islam activist, Tapan Ghosh, to deliver a speech at an event, named ‘Tolerating the Intolerant: 800 years of defending human rights’. Ghosh has previously called on the UN to stop Muslims from having children; blamed the Rohingya people for their own ethnic cleansing; and has been previously affiliated with key activists within Britain’s anti-Islam movement (in particular the former EDL leader, Tommy Robinson). Commenting upon the event, Labour MP, Wes Streeting, noted that: ‘Tapan Ghosh has form – both in making inflammatory and bigoted remarks about Muslims and in holding connections with the far-right in the UK and in India.’ Such anti-Muslim rhetoric has not however been limited to the Conservative party. In May 2017, a Labour Party candidate was forced to withdraw over a tweet that called from the eradication of Islam from Europe. Moreover, in August 2017, the MP for Rotherham, Sarah Champion, was forced to resign her frontbench position after writing a column in the Sun newspaper claiming that ‘British Pakistani men ARE raping and exploiting white girls… and it’s time we faced up to it.’

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