(JTA) — British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak fired his home secretary, Suella Braverman, on Monday, days after she published an op-ed arguing that British police are more lenient with pro-Palestinian protesters than they are with far-right ones.
The article, published without Sunak’s approval, highlighted how divisive pro-Palestinian protests have been in the United Kingdom and around the world. Ahead of a massive pro-Palestinian rally in London this weekend that drew hundreds of thousands of people, Braverman wrote that the city’s Metropolitan Police “play favorites” with different groups of protesters.
While many global pro-Palestinian rallies since Hamas’ attacks on Israel on Oct. 7 have included antisemitic incidents and chants, protest groups say that authorities have focused on fringe figures who do not represent their movement.
Most of the arrests at the London rally involved far-right counterprotesters. But Sunak, who has voiced strong public support for Israel in its war in Gaza, condemned “Hamas sympathizers” who joined in the march, “singing antisemitic chants and brandishing pro-Hamas signs and clothing.”
Braverman, whose parents immigrated from Kenya and Mauritius, is married to Israeli-British citizen Rael Braverman and has been outspoken on antisemitism issues. As a vocal leader to the right of Sunak politically, some think she will run to lead the Conservative Party if it loses to Labour in the United Kingdom’s next elections.
Braverman’s article and Sunak’s reaction have split the party. “Bad call by Rishi caving in to the left!” tweeted Conservative lawmaker Andrea Jenkyns.
Labour leader Keir Starmer — who has prioritized regaining the trust of Jewish voters following his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn’s years-long antisemitism scandal — has also staked out a staunch pro-Israel position on the war, leading to tensions within his party.