Antisemitism Campaigner Threatened with Arrest, Called 'Openly Jewish' by London Police

Antisemitism campaigner threatened with arrest at pro-Palestine protest in London, sparking outrage and calls for police chief's resignation amid concerns over "Jew-free zones".

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Antisemitism Campaigner Threatened with Arrest, Called 'Openly Jewish' by London Police

Antisemitism Campaigner Threatened with Arrest, Called 'Openly Jewish' by London Police

On April 22, 2024, in London, England, an antisemitism campaigner named Gideon Falter was threatened with arrest and called "openly Jewish" by a Metropolitan Police officer near a pro-Palestine protest, while Scotland Yard chief Mark Rowley faces calls to quit amid a furious row. The incident was captured on video by Sky News. Falter, the chief executive of the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA), said that a pro-Palestine protester had shouted abuse at him, calling him a "Nazi" and "scum", while police were present, but the officers did not intervene. Falter was also told by the police sergeant that his presence at the rally could "inflame tensions" due to him being "openly Jewish".

The Metropolitan Police later apologized for the comments, describing them as "hugely regrettable". However, they were later accused of victim-blaming when they claimed that the campaigners filming themselves being abused were being provocative. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak expressed outrage over the incident, and the Board of Deputies of British Jews called for a meeting with Met Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley to address the growing concerns within the Jewish community about police enforcement of "Jew-free zones" in London.

Why this matters: The incident highlights the tensions between pro-Palestinian protesters and Jewish residents in London, with the police struggling to manage the situation and protect the rights of both groups. It has further eroded the confidence of many Jewish Londoners in the police force.

Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman called for Rowley's resignation, accusing him of emboldening antisemites and failing to control the streets. However, Labour's shadow justice secretary Shabana Mahmood said Rowley's resignation is not the way forward, and that the police should take steps to maintain community confidence from all communities. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has the power to effectively sack the Commissioner, but can only do so with the permission of the Home Secretary. Rowley is set to meet with the Home Secretary, the Mayor of London, and Jewish community groups to discuss the matter and address concerns about the police's treatment of the Jewish community. "No one should be told their religion is provocative, nor an innocent person threatened with arrest solely because of someone else's anticipated unreasonable reaction," said UK Policing Minister Chris Philp.

Key Takeaways

  • Antisemitism campaigner Gideon Falter threatened with arrest by London police
  • Police accused of victim-blaming, claiming protesters were being provocative
  • Outrage from PM Sunak, calls for Met Police chief Rowley to resign
  • Tensions between pro-Palestinian protesters and Jewish residents in London
  • Rowley to meet Home Secretary, Mayor, and Jewish groups to address concerns