Margaret Thatcher hated terrorism in all its forms, whether it was carried out by the IRA, al-Qaeda, or state-sponsored. The Iron Lady famously survived an IRA assassination attempt in Brighton in 1984 and was a fearless adversary of terror movements across the world.
I worked for Margaret Thatcher in her private office in Belgravia during the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States in 2001. As an aide to the former prime minister, assisting her with her final book, Statecraft, I delivered the news to her that the North Tower of the World Trade Center had been struck by a large aircraft. As she watched the twin towers fall live on television, she knew that the world had changed forever. Her immediate instinct was to stand with our allies in the face of tremendous evil. She called on the free world to fight Islamist terror and win.
Thatcher’s reaction to the barbaric Hamas massacre of over 1,400 Israelis on October 7, 2023 would have been the same. She loved the brave and courageous people of Israel, and abhorred anti-Semitism. Several key members of her Cabinet in the 1980s were Jewish, including her chancellor, Nigel Lawson, and her constituency in Finchley included a large Jewish population. Lady Thatcher had a tremendous affinity with Israel, and a deep-seated distrust of Islamist movements such as Hamas that claim to speak on behalf of ordinary Palestinians. She also viewed Hamas’s puppet master Iran as a tremendous threat to British security.
The Iron Lady would have been appalled by the rising hatred of Israel and the Jewish people on the streets of British cities in the past few weeks, as well as the open calls for Jihad. I am in no doubt that she would have supported an outright ban on the hate-filled pro-Palestine/pro-Hamas “protests” that have taken over central London. She would have been dismayed by the weak-kneed approach taken by the Metropolitan Police, and strongly condemned the intimidation that has been a constant feature of the anti-Israel marches.
She would have been monumentally unimpressed by the lack of leadership and at times confused mixed messaging being sent by the present Conservative government. Although Suella Braverman has been robust in her language, the Prime Minister has looked wobbly and uncertain in the face of the protests. Mrs. T’s advice to Rishi Sunak would be to demonstrate some backbone.
For the truth is that if Margaret Thatcher was in Downing Street today, the Government’s response would look very different. There would be large-scale arrests of individuals supporting terror, with a wave of prosecutions of anyone with links to Hamas or other Islamist terror groups. Foreign nationals convicted of support for proscribed terror groups would be deported. She had no time for European courts interfering in British law. In the Brexit-era, she would have swiftly taken the UK out of the supranational European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
Lady Thatcher had immense respect and admiration for Britain’s war veterans. The idea of pro-Palestine protesters taking to the streets of London on Armistice Day would have horrified her. She would put in place a huge show of force by the police to protect war memorials including the Cenotaph.
The Israel-hating “protesters” need to stay away from Britain’s sacred memorials. The British people must never give in. We need Margaret Thatcher’s clear-eyed vision today more than ever, as Hamas and other Islamist terror groups seek to destroy our nations from within.
This piece originally appeared in The Telegraph