Updated: Monday, 10th August 2020 @ 12:42pm

Manchester streets or 'Nazi Germany'? Gaza protests rife with anti-Semitism, claims Sir Richard Leese

Manchester streets or 'Nazi Germany'? Gaza protests rife with anti-Semitism, claims Sir Richard Leese

| By Sam Penny

Sir Richard Leese has sensationally compared protests on the streets of Manchester to Nazi Germany.

The leader of Manchester City Council’s statement came at the opening of a meeting at Manchester Town Hall this morning, in response to a pro-Palestine protest outside King Street store Karem Cosmetics.

The store sells ‘dead sea products’ and has been recently boycotted due to the recent missile attacks that have left over 1,000 civilians dead, mainly on the Palestinian side.

Speaking about this protests, Sir Leese said: “This council cannot support those who seek to bring this conflict into our city and drive wedges between communities whose home is not the Middle East but is here in Manchester. 

“We cannot support the use of language that would not have been out of place in 1930s' Germany.

'SENSELESS LOSS OF LIFE': The Council Leader has slammed those bringing the conflict to Manchester

“[The council] cannot support Manchester businesses, their staff and their customers being subject to abuse and intimidation as they attempt to go about their ordinary, everyday lives.”

Police were involved due to safety concerns around the congregation of both Israel and Palestine supporters that began to clash – an event that lead to five arrests.

Praising the police’s role in the protest, Sir Leese said: “GMP must ensure the right to peaceful protest is maintained but we also expect them to deal robustly with anti-Semitic incitement, just as we would Islamophobia, homophobia or any other hate crime.

“We expect them to protect the right of shops to trade, shop workers to work and their customers to visit them and to do so without fear.”

Sir Leese also took time to comment on the conflict Gaza itself, calling the ‘senseless’ loss of civilian lives ‘shocking and horrific’.

He said: “The cycle of mutual threat and retaliation have no lasting effect except to reinforce the misery and insecurity of everyone in the region and is making the road to peace even more difficult. There is no military solution for either side in this conflict.

“Further acceleration of violence in recent days requires that our government, together with other countries redouble their efforts to bring about an immediate cessation of violence from both sides.”

The Council Leader added: "I am not going to take sides.  Whatever the justification given, I cannot support Israel’s bombardments of Gaza, nor can I support Hamas firing rockets into Southern Israel. 

SOLIDARITY: Afzal Khan MEP praised the Manchester City Council

“Gaza is now in the midst of a humanitarian crisis that requires the immediate opening of crossings to permit the flow of aid, commercial goods and people.

“It has gone on for far too long.  Israel and Palestine need a permanent ceasefire and the population, Arab and Jew alike need the opportunity to build a secure and prosperous future."

The Statement comes in response to a meeting the Leader hadon Monday with North West MEP, Afzal Khan, who urged that the statement be made as a matter of urgency.

Afzal Khan MEP, who has been pushing unceasingly on all fronts for an end to the violence in Gaza, including in the EU, said:

“I welcome this statement and thank the city’s leadership for taking action in this time of crisis.

"As always, Manchester’s full Labour Council is taking a stand in line with the people of Manchester and is playing its part for peace in this troubled part of the world.”

Main image courtesy of Steve Spy4, via YouTube, with thanks.