Is it now a crime to be a Jew in London?

A Met officer threatened a man with arrest because his Jewishness might anger ‘pro-Palestine’ protesters.

Lauren Smith

Topics UK

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Is it now a crime to be a Jew in London? That seems to be the suggestion of the Metropolitan Police. At a ‘pro-Palestine’ march on Saturday, a Jewish man was threatened with arrest, supposedly because his mere presence was ‘antagonising’ the protesters and breaching the peace.

That might sound too shocking to be believed, but the altercation was captured on video:

As Gideon Falter, CEO of Campaign Against Antisemitism, explains, he was simply trying to enjoy a walk around London with friends after they had been to synagogue that morning. But when they found themselves caught in the path of one of the weekly Palestine marches, they were confronted by police.

Falter and his friends were not there to counter-protest or to wind up the demonstrators. They weren’t carrying placards, wearing badges or even engaging with the protesters at all. (Although they should of course be entitled to do that, too.) Falter only caught the attention of the police because he was wearing a kippah and carrying a small bag with a Star of David on it, both of which marked him out as Jewish.

This is what prompted police to pull Falter aside. ‘You are quite openly Jewish’, the officer can be heard saying in the video. ‘This is a pro-Palestinian march. I am not accusing you of anything’, he said, ‘but I am worried about the reaction to your presence’.

Falter was then surrounded by officers and informed that he wouldn’t be able to leave. When he tried to explain that he just wanted to cross the road, the officer informed him: ‘In that case sir, when the crowd is gone I will happily escort you out.’

Later, a different officer told Falter that he could either be escorted away or face arrest. ‘If you choose to remain here’, he said, ‘because you are causing a breach of peace… you will be arrested. Your presence here is antagonising a large group of people.’

Certainly, many protesters did seem agitated by Falter’s presence. In the video, they can be heard shouting ‘scum’ and ‘Nazi’ at him.

Hang on a second. Aren’t these marches supposed to be about the plight of civilians in Gaza? Indeed, the Metropolitan Police have themselves gone to great lengths to try to assure the public that these weekly demos are merely peaceful expressions of solidarity with innocent Palestinians. When former UK home secretary Suella Braverman dared to describe these protests – accurately as it turns out – as ‘hate marches’, Met commissioner Mark Rowley seemed completely baffled by the suggestion. He pretended not to know what she meant.

Now the police have tacitly admitted that these pro-Palestine demos are indeed hotbeds of hatred. Officers know all too well that the mere presence of a visibly Jewish man is enough to infuriate the marchers. But instead of defending London’s Jews, the police have decided to appease these anti-Semitic elements – by threatening a man with arrest for being visibly Jewish and refusing to move along.

Can the Met sink any lower?

Lauren Smith is a staff writer at spiked.

Picture by: X.

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Topics UK


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