“Woke” Left-wing activists have formed a “toxic alliance” with Islamic fundamentalists to stoke anti-Semitism in the UK, Israel’s most senior British-born politician has told The Telegraph.
In an interview, Fleur Hassan-Nahoum also branded the United Nations as “the worst” after its women’s group was accused of taking 57 days to condemn the “brutal attacks by Hamas” on Israel on Oct 7 including the rape of Israeli women.
Mrs Hassan-Nahoum, 50, the deputy mayor of Jerusalem, warned that the war in Gaza would continue for up to six more months but said she found it “difficult to believe” Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu could continue in office following the intelligence and security failures in the run-up to the Hamas attack.
Mrs Hassan-Nahoum, who was born in London and grew up in Gibraltar, flew into the UK to join a protest on Sunday against UN Women held outside Downing Street.
“The UN is awful,” she said, “They are the worst. They have all these countries that are not democracies and give them equal standing and they whitewash them. They all feel they are in a democratic system but they are all dictatorships.
“UN Women took seven weeks to call out the mass rapes and mutilation and violence against women. It is too little too late.”
On Dec 1, UN Women, a United Nations entity that campaigns for gender equality, issued a statement in which it said it “unequivocally” condemned the Oct 7 attack on Israel and said it was “alarmed by the numerous accounts of gender-based atrocities and sexual violence” committed on that day.
Mrs Hassan-Nahoum, a mother of four, insisted that Israel was the only country in the region that upholds gay rights and also gives Arab women the vote. Gaza, she pointed out, had not held an election since 2006 and it had been almost 19 years since a leadership election in the West Bank.
She has been appalled by the pro-Palestinian mass protests held in the UK over the past seven weeks. “People don’t understand what a dark regime lives there,” she said in reference to Hamas’s rule over Gaza. She said it was a “pawn” of Iran, which has “global ambitions”.
She said some of the UK demonstrators considered the attack on Israel as “legitimate resistance”, adding: “Anybody who thinks cutting a baby’s head off is legitimate resistance needs to have their own head examined. If this was the other way around we would never, ever condone anything like that.”
The mass protests, she said, made her “think that you guys [in the UK] have problems more than we do… What people are underestimating is the level of radicalisation among young people”.
Mrs Hassan-Nahoum said: “Why can’t they see evil for what it is and call it out. What’s going on in the UK is an attack on western liberal values.
“I am not going to paint everybody with the same brush because there are people there [on the protests], especially Arab Muslims who have grown up with sympathy for the Palestinian cause. But I don’t understand how even those Muslims celebrate the beheadings of babies and the mass rape of women.
“But the second thing I don’t understand is this toxic alliance between Islamic fundamentalism and western woke Leftism. Do they not understand what Hamas stands for or do they just hate Jews more?”
She accused the demonstrators of being “brainwashed” and “ignorant”, adding: “It’s a misconception that Jews are somehow a successful minority and it’s fine for them not to have human rights and it is fine to punch up. It is a mistaken new idea that the Jews can never be the oppressed.”
She described the position taken by the hard Left in the UK against Israel as “typical anti-Semitism”, adding: “Anti-Semitism mutates into whatever the hatred of the day is. When it’s communism, Jews are communists. When it’s capitalism, Jews are capitalists. They can call it whatever they want but they are essentially anti-Semites. They have this obsession with Israel. Why don’t they criticise Assad for the half-a-million people in Syria he killed. This over obsession with Israel shows the bias, the double standards, the anti-Semitism.”
Although a member of the ruling Likud party, Mrs Hassan-Nahoum is highly critical of Mr Netanyahu, the party’s leader. “I find it difficult to believe Netanyahu can carry on,” she said, “We are not dealing with this right now [the country’s leadership] because we are busy trying to fight the war. But when the war is over, everybody has to take responsibility for this terrible security failure on so many levels. So many things had to go wrong for Hamas to be this successful.”
Hamas needs to be routed but she insisted – in the face of withering condemnation of Israel’s retaliatory attacks on Gaza that have killed a reported 15,000 people, many of them women and children – that the Israel Defense Forces was doing “as much as we can to minimise casualties”. She added: “Nobody wants to see innocent civilian women and children killed. We don’t enjoy this. We didn’t start this war.”
‘We are here for another six months’
What comes next is unclear but Mrs Hassan-Nahoum, who has been involved in setting up a Gulf-Israel women’s forum and has fostered relations with Arab nations including Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, believes that once Hamas is defeated some form of international Arab alliance could take control of Gaza, using Gulf money to fund its rebuilding. But she added: “I think we are here [in Gaza] for another three to six months. I am not sure it [the fighting] will be at the same intensity.” At the weekend, officials close to Mr Netanyahu were briefing that the conflict could carry on for a year.
Mrs Hassan-Nahoum describes herself as an observant Jew but she is not on the religious Right. In Jerusalem, her portfolio includes overseeing tourism, foreign relations and economic development. The city is in “crisis mode”, temporary home to as many as 50,000 Israelis displaced from settlements near Gaza and in the north close to Lebanon.
Mrs Hassan-Nahoum grew up on Gibraltar where her father Sir Joshua Hassan was the chief minister. The headland has been home to Sephardi Jews who were expelled from Spain during the Spanish Inquisition and who by the start of the 18th century had made it to the safety of Gibraltar, which was by then under British rule.
She studied law in London and trained as a barrister before emigrating to Israel in 2001 where she is now “the most senior elected British politician in Israel”, having served almost six years as a deputy mayor of Jerusalem.
Mrs Hassan-Nahoum’s two eldest children are serving with the IDF but are not involved in front-line fighting. It’s a huge relief to her.
“I have to see a future. I cannot be a mum raising children in Israel and having no hope. We all have the same enemy,” she said, pointing the finger at Iran for arming Hamas and masterminding the Oct 7 attacks, “it’s just that not everybody has realised that yet.”