Prime minister visits Jewish school to tell pupils he’ll do ‘everything to keep them safe’

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Prime minister visits Jewish school to tell pupils he’ll do ‘everything to keep them safe’

During Q&A session with pupils Rishi Sunak is asked: ''Where is the line between protesting for Palestines and supporting Hamas?'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Rishi Sunak speaks to broadcasters after visiting Jewish school
Rishi Sunak speaks to broadcasters after visiting Jewish school

Rishi Sunak has visited a Jewish secondary school where he told staff and pupils his government will do “everything in our power to keep them safe.”

In a visit on Monday morning, the prime minister met with the London school’s senior leadership team, as well as taking questions from pupils to provide reassurance amid rising antisemitism in the UK, after Israel responds to the October 7th Hamas terrorist atrocities.

During the visit Sunak said:”I’ve come to this Jewish school this morning specifically to demonstrate my solidarity with the Jewish community here in the UK, and let them know we are going to do everything in our power to keep them safe. There is no place for antisemitism in our society. We will do everything we can to stamp it out.”

The PM said that antisemitic abuse “will be met with the full force of the law”.

As he took questions from pupils, Sunak was asked at one point:”Where is the line between protesting for Palestines and supporting Hamas?”

The PM replied:“Hamas is a proscribed terrorist organisation, it’s very clear under the law, the support and glorification of Hamas is illegal, and those offences are punishable with up to almost 14 years in jail.

“But it’s not just about Hamas, more broadly actions that incite violence or stir up religious hatred and racial violence are also not acceptable and that’s why, as I said, there’s no place in our society for that type of hatred and division, and it will be met with the full force of the law where it happens.”

Sunak confirmed he had met with police chiefs last week and with the CST ahead of the weekend’s pro-Palestine demonstrations. He said: “We’ve spent time with the police to make sure they have all the tools, powers and guidance they need to police protests over the weekend appropriately, and strike that right balance.

“It’s a difficult job, but I’m grateful to them for everything that they’ve done. They’ve made several arrests, but they’re also now reviewing footage of some of the things that many people would have seen that are just simply not acceptable and where they can they will be able to make further arrests.“

As he spoke to Sky News during the school visit Sunak also said ministers are “doing everything we can to provide support” to the British families who have loved ones taken hostage by Hamas.

Facing questions from students about the devastating impact of last weeks Hamas terror attacks on families and friends Sunak said: “I know it’s an anxious time for many families who will have loved ones who are impacted or missing.

“We’re providing all the consular support through the Foreign Office that we can and also providing direct support to the Israelis.

“And the humanitarian situation is one which of course we’re concerned about, and that I’ve raised in all the calls and interactions I’ve had with other leaders from across the region.“And in particular, making sure that we can try and get the Rafah crossing open, that will ease the humanitarian situation.“

We will continue to do everything we can to alleviate the humanitarian situation on the ground, including moving some of our Royal Navy assets into the region who can provide further support as required.”

Also attending the school visit were the MP Theresa Villiers, and Gerald Ronson, the CST’s founder.

Sunak will deliver a statement on the current crisis in the Middle East in the Commons later on Monday.

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