Gun-toting British anti-Muslim activist poses on Israeli tank
A prominent British far-right activist and anti-Muslim campaigner has posted photos of himself posing with a gun on an Israeli tank in the occupied Golan Heights.
Tommy Robinson, who leads Pegida UK, the British branch of the German-founded Pegida movement, posted the photo on Wednesday and wrote: "All those people telling me to be careful in Israel, I think I'll be ok."
The founder and former leader of the anti-Muslim English Defence League (EDL), whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, arrived in Israel on Monday, posting the message "The Eagle has landed" on Twitter.
On Tuesday he posted a photo of himself posing by a road sign in the illegally occupied West Bank.
In a response to this article on Twitter, Robinson told MEE he was "deep in the Jordan valley which is ground zero of the West Bank".
Some on social media called for British police to investigate Robinson, with the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPACUK) calling him a " fully fledged armed radical extremist".
As a consequence of Syria's war, the police have warned that Britons who travel to Syrian territory and take up arms will face likely questioning and possible prosecution for terrorism offences on their return to the UK.
Robinson has been vocal in support of Israel, telling the Jewish Chronicle newspaper in an interview in 2015 that the country was the frontline in the "battle for freedom, liberty and democracy".
"The media would have us believe that everyone in this country hates Israel, that Israel is this big monster," he told the newspaper.
"That comes from this whole left-wing mindset, this whole victim thing with Palestine which is inbred into students at university. It's not inbred into anyone I know – white working-class people."
Robinson also revealed in that interview that he planned to holiday in Israel once he was no longer restricted under licence from leaving the UK because of a conviction for mortgage fraud.
Robinson made headlines in 2013 when he publicly split from the EDL in a move orchestrated by the Quilliam Foundation, a counter-extremism organisation.
Robinson subsequently revealed in an autobiography that Quilliam, which in the past was funded by the British government, had paid him thousands of pounds as part of the deal.
Launching Pegida UK, a German acronym which stands for the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West, Robinson said: "I'm not far-right… I’m just opposed to Islam. I believe it’s backward and it’s fascist. The current refugee crisis is nothing to do with refugees. It’s a Muslim invasion of Europe."
The Golan Heights is Syrian territory which has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 Six-Day War. Israel annexed the area in 1981 but the move has never been internationally recognised.
Middle East Eye has reached out to the Israeli military and Pegida UK for comment.
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