Islamic Human Rights Commission
14 January 2019
PRESS RELEASE – UK: High Court decision rejects association of anti-Semitism with Zionism
Zionists have failed in a legal attempt to overturn a decision not to prosecute a prominent pro-Palestine campaigner for remarks he made during the 2017 Al-Quds Day march in London.
The High Court dismissed the judicial review brought by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism against a decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions not to take action against Nazim Ali on the grounds that that comments he made during the protest in June 2017 were not abusive and had not caused alarm or distress to Zionists who were taking part in a counter-demonstration.
The CAA, whose primary purpose is to defend Israel by stigmatising as anti-Semitic anyone who supports Palestine and opposes Zionism, had claimed that Mr Ali had insulted Zionists, Zionist rabbis and those associated with the Jewish Board of Deputies who felt alarmed by his anti-Zionist comments at the annual rally.
Having failed to persuade the DPP to prosecute Mr Ali, it brought a private prosecution against him. However, the DPP took over the private prosecution and dismissed that as well as Mr Ali argued this was an abuse of process.
The High Court decision marks an important victory for pro-Palestine campaigners by guaranteeing freedom of expression and implicitly rejecting the association of anti-Semitism with Zionism.
The CAA had argued that Mr Ali’s comments against Zionism and Israel had made them vulnerable in that they felt more at risk of being of being set upon or shunned in society, at work and elsewhere because of the complainants’ Jewish heritage.
The court held that while what Mr Ali said may have been intemperate, deeply offensive and distressing it could not be said to be abusive nor constitute any threat to public order.
The High Court agreed with the DPP that while the remarks “were possibly at the limits of strident political discourse they were nevertheless an expression of views that he was free to hold in a free and democratic society”.
Commenting on the decision IHRC chair Massoud Shadjareh said: “We are pleased that the High Court has seen through the aim of the CAA in this case which was to silence criticism of Israel via the Public Order Act. The action brought by the CAA is typical of the Zionist tactic to cow or silence all opposition to the Zionist state. Just as Israel murders or jails all opposition figures in Palestine to silence them, Zionists like the CAA want to similarly silence and destroy all opponents of Israel in the UK.”
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IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
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