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Katy Hopkins' tweets on Palestinians echoe racist rhetoric of Israeli leaders

Columnist for The Sun and infamous celebrity Katie Hopkins provoked outrage this week by taking to Twitter to describe Palestinians as "filthy rodents", as well as other Islamophobic remarks.

The backlash was fierce, with one post on The Independent's website inviting readers to decide if a series of statements were quotations from Hopkins or white supremacist forum Stormfront. What one newspaper called an "anti-Muslim rant" has even led to some calls for the police to take action against the notorious former Apprentice contestant.

Hopkins' comments have been widely condemned but, whether she knows it or not, her dehumanisation of Palestinians resonates with a long history of similar comments by Israeli leaders.

Just this summer, Israeli politician Ayelet Shaked, a senior figure in coalition party Jewish Home, published a post on Facebook saying Palestinian mothers give birth to "little snakes".

Also this summer, Deputy Speaker of the Israeli Knesset Moshe Feiglin published an article in which he described Palestinians as "savages of the desert" and one of the arms of the "same octopus" of "fanatical Arab Islam."

While Hopkins' hateful tweets were swiftly denounced, she is, thankfully, a relatively unimportant celebrity columnist. Unfortunately, the anti-Palestinian hate she channelled is routinely expressed by the highest levels of Israeli officialdom – leaders who shape the policies that keep Palestinians occupied, segregated, and besieged.

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