A solicitor who lamented that a plane carrying Jewish refugees didn’t blow up mid-air has been fined £25,000 and ordered to pay almost £10,000 costs.
Majid Mahmood, a partner at City Law Chambers in Luton and a director at Liberty Law Solicitors, had the sanction imposed by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal for comments he made on social media in 2015 and 2016.
Mahmood, 40, said his statement referred to airborne IDF soldiers blowing up mid-air, but the panel ruled that this was an “implausible” argument, and accepted that the comments had been made in response to an article about Jewish refugees being airlifting out of a troubled country to Israel.
His comments first attracted attention in 2015, when he wrote: “Someone needs to shoot all the Israeli Zionists dead then send their bodies to America as a present for Obama and his Zionist pals.”
Then, in early 2016, in response to the article, he wrote: “The [sic] ain’t gods [sic] chosen people they’re Satans [sic] love child’s [sic] and it’s a shame e [sic] the plane carrying them didn’t blow up mid air.” In response to another Facebook user, Mahmood then referred to Israel as “a nation fuelled by greed”.
After being challenged by the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA), Mahmood’s solicitor said he “unequivocally accepts the posts… were wholly inappropriate” and that he “regrets doing so,” but denied that they were anti-Semitic.
Appearing as a witness, CAA chair Gideon Falter said Mahmood’s comments were “pretty extreme” and “incontrovertibly anti-Semitic,” but Mahmood said his comments were aimed at “Israeli Zionists” and not at Jews.
The tribunal said Mahmood had “stepped over the line” by advocating violence and that he had acted “without integrity”. It gave Mahmood “the benefit of the doubt” in finding that his reference to “Israeli Zionists” was not anti-Semitic, after Mahmood said he was reacting to a video of innocent Palestinian children being blown up.
However it found that the reference to “God’s chosen people” was “a trigger phrase for the Jewish people” and that Mahmood reference to Jews as “Satan’s love child” was “religiously offensive”.
In addition to the fine, Mahmood was suspended from practicing as a solicitor by the panel, “weighing the interests of the profession in terms of the maintenance of confidence in its reputation,” but the suspension was itself suspended.
A CAA spokesman said: “Whilst we do not agree with the decision to allow Mr Mahmood, who has repeatedly made vile statements calling for death and destruction, to remain in practice, we nonetheless welcome this decision.”
He added: “We commend the Solicitors Regulation Authority for doing the right thing in bringing this action, and we applaud the Tribunal for sending this strong message that antisemitism within the legal profession will be severely punished.”