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Government Adviser Dame Sara Khan Calls for Stronger Approach to Address Israel-Palestine Divisions

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Government Adviser Dame Sara Khan Calls For Stronger Approach To Address Israel Palestine Divisions

A comprehensive report on social cohesion in the UK has emphasized the divisive impact of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Dame Sara Khan, an independent adviser to the government on social cohesion and resilience, has called for a more strategic national approach to address tensions before they escalate.

In her 150-page report, Dame Sara highlighted how international events, such as the 2021 conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Middle East, led to a surge in antisemitic and anti-Muslim sentiments in the UK. The lack of a clear strategy, according to her, has allowed extremist elements to exploit such conflicts for their divisive agendas.

The recent outbreak of violence in Gaza and the subsequent reactions in Britain have raised concerns about rising levels of hatred, radicalization, and community unrest. Disinformation on social media has played a significant role in fueling misunderstandings and further polarizing communities.

Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist of the Metropolitan Police has warned about deliberate disinformation campaigns within the UK aimed at stoking hate and polarization among different groups. Dame Sara also highlighted instances where protests, while largely peaceful, were labeled as ‘hate marches’, leading to alienation of moderate voices.

One troubling incident mentioned in the report involved a Met officer unknowingly sporting a ‘boycott Israeli apartheid’ sticker at a Palestine Solidarity Campaign march, resulting in online abuse and threats directed at him. Such incidents contribute to an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.

Dame Sara further pointed out the challenges faced by schools in facilitating discussions on the Israel-Palestine conflict, with many teachers feeling ill-equipped to address the topic effectively. Moreover, she stressed the need for concrete action against extremist elements that undermine social cohesion.

The report also shed light on the failure of the government to implement promised reforms in monitoring independent schools and addressing unregistered schools. Concurrently, the Campaign Against Antisemitism has initiated a billboard campaign to raise awareness about the impact of antisemitism on British Jews.

Rachel Adams

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