The ethics panel of the pharmaceutical regulatory agency has ruled that a member’s claim that “Zionists” were guilty of “murder” in the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire was “offensive but not antisemitic.”
The Practice Committee of the General Pharmaceutical Council declined on Thursday to take disciplinary action against Nazim Ali, a pharmacist who reportedly made the claim in a speech at the June 2017 Al-Quds march in the centre of London.
“Some of the biggest supporters of the Conservative Party are Zionists,” Ali said. “They are responsible for the murder of the people in Grenfell. The Zionist supporters of the Tory Party. Free, Free, Palestine!”
Dozens of people died in the 2017 fire at Grenfell Tower, low-rent housing complex in London.
The panel rejected demands that Ali be suspended, calling that response “disproportionate,” according to a report by 5 Pillars, an independent Muslim news site. And it determined that his use of the term “Zionism” was not used to apply to all Jews.
“The committee noted the context of the Al Quds rally: It was a pro-Palestine, anti-Zionist rally at which there was a counter-demonstration by supporters of the state of Israel,” the panel determined. “The committee concluded that most reasonable people knowing this would not be surprised to hear the term ‘Zionists’ used on that day by the registrant. It would only be thought antisemitic by most reasonable people if they believe additionally that when using this term what actually was meant was ‘Jews.’
Jonathan Hoffman, a witness who testified at the panel, wrote in a critical post on his blog that he had testified that Ali had attributed Zionist behaviour to genetics. “It’s in their genes,” Hoffman quoted Ali as saying. “The Zionists are here to occupy Regent Street. It’s in their genes, it’s in their genetic code.”
A video of Ali at the event has him saying the world would be better without Zionism and that Israel is an “illegal state.” The government’s working definition of antisemitism includes “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination,” as well as classical tropes about Jews power.
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.