Grant Shapps has warned that the war between Israel and Hamas could worsen. Photo: Leon Neill/Getty Images
Grant Shapps said his daughter endured anti-Semitic chants at her university after the war between Israel and Hamas broke out.
In an interview with The Times, the defense minister, a practicing Jew, said that his daughter told him that people were “storming” through her campus, chanting “from the river to the sea.”
Mr Shapps said his family had felt the impact of the Hamas attacks on Israel on October 7, in which the terrorists killed 1,200 people.
He said of his daughter: “She told me “that people were rampaging around campus shouting 'From the river to the sea,' which is clearly an anti-Semitic cliché, and it puts pressure on her and makes her feel uncomfortable.”
Mr Shapps said he was British first, Defense Secretary second and “my religion is Judaism.”
“But first of all, I am a human being,” he said. “Whether someone dies in Gaza or dies in Israel, it makes no difference to me. This should not happen in either case. I think that a sense of humanity should be the focus of everyone’s attention.” “.
His comments follow a row over the Metropolitan Police's decision to allow chants of “from the river to the sea” at pro-Palestinian protests in London, despite Suella Braverman, the former home secretary, warning it was “widely perceived as demanding the destruction of Israel”.
Scotland Yard has said that demonstrators at the October march will be allowed to chant the slogan as long as it is not used to incite violence or intimidate Jewish people.
Robin Simcox, independent government leader on the fight against extremism, previously stated that he considers the chant “from the river to the sea” to be genocide.
Mr Shapps also warned that the war between Israel and Hamas could worsen, potentially sparking a “huge” conflict in the Middle East.
He said the Palestinian Authority was the “only game in town” when it came to comes to govern Gaza after the conflict after The Times reported that a British military team in the West Bank is helping prepare the body to take charge.
Mr Shapps made his remarks during a trip to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, during which he planned to push for faster delivery of humanitarian aid, including by sea directly to the Gaza Strip, and the release of all remaining hostages.
“The events of October 7 horrified the world, and I personally want to express my support and condolences to Israel and its people,” he said. “We fully support Israel's right to self-defense, but it is important that their fight against Hamas terrorists remains within the framework of international law.”
He posted a photo of himself in Israel on social media:
Walking through Kibbutz Kfar, two months after the Hamas attack.
As an Iron Dome defensive missile flew overhead, shooting down the incoming missile moments later. All of this is a stark reminder that a sustainable two-state solution is needed now more than ever. pic.twitter.com/e7jByWdhU8
— Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) December 7, 2023