The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has blocked an attempted prosecution by Campaign Against Antisemitism to bring charges of anti-Semitism against Nazim Ali, a leader of the Al Quds march in London.
The private prosecution against Mr Ali was launched by Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAA), alleging that comments he made during the June 2017 Al-Quds Day march in London were anti-Semitic.
Mr Ali was due to stand trial next week but this has now be halted.
Last year Mr Ali accused Zionists of carrying out the Grenfell tower fire, saying it is “Zionists who give money to the Tory Party to kill people in high rise blocks”.
He added: “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.”
CAA chairman Gideon Falter called the CPS decision “pretty brutal” and “disgusting”.
Mr Falter said: “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.”
The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), which runs the Al-Quds March in London, was jubilant at the CPS’s decision and Nazim Ali labelled the prosecution as “an abuse of judicial process and an attempt to silence those who oppose Zionism”.
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 Al-Quds March was established by Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei as an annual call for the destruction of Israel. The IHRC in the UK has run the event for several years with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn being a regular speaker at the event in previous years.
The comments made by Nazim Ali moved from “anti-Zionist” to “anti-Semitic” when he riled against the “rabbis” and “synagogues”. So there is a clear argument of anti-Semitism there.
Another issue is that Mr Ali and the CPS fail to see the religious belief held by millions of Christians and Jews that the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people. This is not a political statement, it is a Biblical fact and a belief held by many. We must push back against this rampant hatred of Israel and Zionism.
Zionists should be free to hold their beliefs without fear of reprecussions. The hatred espoused by Nazim Ali and the IHRC against Zionism does the opposite of this and it is shameful that the CPS is not protecting the religious freedom of so many in this country.