Met apologises after openly Jewish comment by officer near pro Palestine demo

Met apologises after ‘openly Jewish’ comment by officer near pro-Palestine demo

The Metropolitan Police has apologised after an officer used the term “openly Jewish” to an antisemitism campaigner who was threatened with arrest.

The Metropolitan Police has apologised after an officer used the term “openly Jewish” to an antisemitism campaigner who was threatened with arrest near a pro-Palestine march.

Gideon Falter, chief executive of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, was wearing a kippah skull cap when he was stopped from crossing the road near the demonstration in the Aldwych area of London on Saturday afternoon.

The video clip showed one police officer saying to him: “You are quite openly Jewish, this is a pro-Palestinian march, I’m not accusing you of anything but I’m worried about the reaction to your presence.”

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said the officer’s “poor” choice of words was “hugely regrettable”.

He said: “The video posted by the Campaign Against Antisemitism will further dent the confidence of many Jewish Londoners which is the opposite of what any of us want.

“The use of the term ‘openly Jewish’ by one of our officers is hugely regrettable.

“It’s absolutely not the basis on which we make decisions, it was a poor choice of words and while not intended, we know it will have caused offence to many. We apologise.”

Mr Falter said he had been walking in the capital after attending synagogue and was not there to counter-protest.

In the clip another officer said to him: “There’s a unit of people here now.

“You will be escorted out of this area so you can go about your business, go where you want freely or if you choose to remain here because you are causing a breach of peace with all these other people, you will be arrested.”

The officer said that Mr Falter’s presence was “antagonising”.

Mr Falter said afterwards: “Despite being told repeatedly that London is safe for Jews when these marches are taking place, my interactions with police officers last Saturday show that the Met believes that being openly Jewish will antagonise the anti-Israel marchers and that Jews need protection, which the police cannot guarantee.

“Instead of addressing that threat of antisemitic violence, the Met’s policy instead seems to be that law-abiding Jewish Londoners should not be in the parts of London where these marches are taking place. In other words, that they are no-go zones for Jews.”

Mr Falter said he will be walking in London on April 27, adding that no part of the capital should be unsafe.

Tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered in London last Saturday to call for a ceasefire and urge the Government to stop all arms sales to Israel.

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