"You Are Quite Openly Jewish": London Police Under Fire For Confrontation With Man Near Anti-Israeli March

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Sunday, Apr 21, 2024 - 04:50 PM

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

The London police are under fire this week for threatening to arrest a man wearing a kippah near a pro-Palestinian march.

Officers inform Gideon Falter, head of the Campaign Against Antisemitism watchdog, that he was “antagonizing” the protesters by being “openly Jewish” near such a march. He was told that, if he tried to cross the street while being “openly Jewish,” he would be arrested for breach of the peace.

In the video, one police officer said: “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.”

Another officer then added later: “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.”

Falter was also told that being openly Jewish near such a march was “antagonizing”.

Activists have long protested the dangers of “driving while black” in prompting stops by police and threats of arrest. Falter appears to have established a danger of “walking while Jewish” in London.

The Metropolitan Police later apologized, but had to issue a second apology after saying in a now deleted statement that

“In recent weeks we’ve seen a new trend emerge, with those opposed to the main protests appearing along the route to express their views. The fact that those who do this often film themselves while doing so suggests they must know that their presence is provocative, that they’re inviting a response and that they’re increasing the likelihood of an altercation.”

Calling an openly Jewish man “provocative” only reaffirmed the original statements made by the officers.

As a result, the police had to issue a new statement, which said that the previous one had “been removed. We apologize for the offense it caused.”

What is equally disturbing is the threat to arrest a man who was doing nothing wrong based on his identity.

These threats were being made as protesters were hurling abuses at him because he is Jewish.

Notably, the United Kingdom has embraced a wide array of criminalized speech, arresting people for hateful or denigrating comments made against groups or individuals.

A man was convicted for sending a tweet while drunk referring to dead soldiers. Another was arrested for an anti-police t-shirt. Another was arrested for calling the Irish boyfriend of his ex-girlfriend a “leprechaun.” Yet another was arrested for singing “Kung Fu Fighting.” A teenager was arrested for protesting outside of a Scientology center with a sign calling the religion a “cult.”

We also discussed the arrest of a woman who was praying to herself near an abortion clinic. English courts have seen criminalized “toxic ideologies” as part of this crackdown on free speech.

I have opposed those laws.

Yet, this incident illustrates the arbitrary enforcement of such laws. The police simply ignored the anti-Semitic comments being leveled at Falter and confronted him on being openly Jewish. 

That is not to say that I favor the enforcement of criminal speech laws. Rather, it shows the added danger of such laws in their selective enforcement.