Prosecution of Al Quds Day march leader dropped by CPS
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Prosecution of Al Quds Day march leader dropped by CPS

Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) calls Crown Prosecution Service's controversial decision an 'appalling betrayal of British Jews' as it seeks legal advice

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Nazim Ali (left) with an anti-Zionist rabbi from the Neturei Karta
Nazim Ali (left) with an anti-Zionist rabbi from the Neturei Karta

The Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) is taking legal advice after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPA) controversially dropped a prosecution — due to begin next week — against the convenor of last year’s Al-Quds march in central London, Nazim Ali.

Mr Ali, who is a director of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, (IHRC), aroused fury in 2017 by verbal attacks on “Zionists who give money to the Tory Party, to kill people in high rise blocks… Careful of those rabbis who belong to the Board of Deputies who have got blood on their hands”.

During the demonstration, Mr Ali, a pharmacist, shouted through a megaphone: “We are fed up of the Zionists. We are fed up of their rabbis. We are fed of their synagogues. We are fed up of their supporters.”

In December last year, the CPS announced that it was not ready to prosecute Mr Ali for offences of inciting racial or religious hatred, or a public order offence.

Instead, the CAA launched its own private prosecution against Mr Ali, accusing him of using “threatening or abusive words or behaviour, within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby.”

The case was due to have been heard at City of London Magistrates Court next Monday. But at the last moment, the CPS announced that it had taken over the prosecution — and was then dropping the case.

According to a triumphant press statement from the Islamic Human Rights Commission, the CPS decision was as a direct result of a petition by Mr Ali, who said he viewed the CAA case as “an abuse of judicial process and an attempt to silence those who oppose Zionism”.

Gideon Falter, the CAA chairman, told the Jewish News: “This decision by the CPS is an appalling betrayal of British Jews, and we are now taking advice on using judicial review proceedings to force the CPS to either prosecute Mr Ali itself — or let us get on with the job. We have called for zero tolerance enforcement of the law against antisemitism and that is what politicians have promised, but it seems that the CPS is not only abandoning British Jews, it is intent on actively intervening to block us when we stand up for ourselves. While we prepare to take action in the courts, the Attorney-General must urgently investigate the behaviour of the CPS and its horrifying resistance to prosecuting antisemites.”

But the IHRC chair, Massoud Shadjareh, said: “We are relieved and pleased that the CPS has seen the CAA’s prosecution attempt for what it is. This was a witch-hunt against Mr Ali that demonstrated all the typical characteristics of the pro-Israel lobby’s tactics to undermine people’s right to defend the oppressed Palestinian people. We will stand by any pro-Palestinian activist who is maliciously prosecuted by CAA or its allies. This victory shows us that the pro-Israel lobby cannot use the British legal system to bully their critics into silence. Justice will prevail for the Palestinian cause.”

The CPS has been asked for comment by the Jewish News but was not able to respond by press deadline.

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