Ruling over Al Quds speaker who blamed Zionists for Grenfell goes to High Court

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Ruling over Al Quds speaker who blamed Zionists for Grenfell goes to High Court

Professional Standards Authority has sent the General Pharmaceutical Council's decision for review

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

A ruling that a pharmacist’s comments blaming “Zionists” for the Grenfell tower tragedy was not antisemitic has been referred to the High Court.

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) ruled last month that Nazim Ali’s comments at the 2017 Al Quds Day demonstration were “offensive” but not racist. 

Following complaints by Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA), the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) has sent the decision to the High Court for review.

Ali, who is the managing partner of Chelsea Pharmacy in London, was given a warning by the professional body in a landmark ruling last month over remarks at the rally, including blaming “Zionists” for the Grenfell tower fire and calling rabbis “imposters”.

However, the 72-page written judgement of a Fitness to Practice Committee convened by the GPhC, said his comments could not be classed as antisemitic, but they had still “brought disgrace upon the profession”, with his Grenfell comments “particularly offensive”. They amounted to “serious misconduct”.

Following the GPhC’s ruling, Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) made legal representations to the PSA asking it to use its statutory power to refer the matter to the High Court under the National Health Service Reform and Healthcare Professionals Act 2002, on the grounds that the decision was insufficient to protect the public because it was “irrational and perverse”.

CAA said it is now up to the High Court as to whether the GPhC’s Fitness to Practise Committee’s judgement will be quashed, leading to the matter being re-opened.

PSA said: “The Authority has referred the General Pharmaceutical Council’s decision in the Nazim Ali case to the High Court. The usual process is that we wait to hear from the Court that the case has been listed for a hearing. The Court can either refer the case back to the regulator to re-do, quash the panel’s decision and make its own, or dismiss it.”

Stephen Silverman, Director of Investigations and Enforcement at Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “Since 2017, we have fought to ensure that Nazim Ali faces the consequences of his actions. As a pharmacist, he is bound by professional rules, and we are pleased that due to our complaint his regulator ruled that he brought his profession into disrepute.

“However, the ruling was deeply flawed, finding Mr Ali’s remarks not to be antisemitic, and considering Jewish bystanders not to be reasonable persons. This was irrational and perverse in the extreme, so we instructed lawyers to ensure that it cannot be allowed to stand due to the example that it sets. Not only that, but the decision to merely issue Mr Ali with a warning was insufficient to protect the public. That is why we asked the PSA to refer this matter to the High Court, and we are delighted that they have now done so.

“There was no way that we could allow this decision to stand due to the dangerous precedent that it set both for British Jews and the public which relies on healthcare professionals to be properly regulated.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

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.

Easy access

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.

read more: