Met apologises for ‘openly Jewish’ remark – then is compelled to apologise once more for ‘victim blaming’ assertion | EUROtoday

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The Metropolitan Police has been compelled to apologise once more for a “victim blaming” apology that was issued earlier over an officer’s use of the time period “openly Jewish” to an antisemitism campaigner who was threatened with arrest close to a pro-Palestine march.

The power apologised in a while Friday for inflicting “further offence” with its earlier apology that steered these “opposed to the protest” showing alongside the route “must know that their presence is provocative” and they are “increasing the likelihood of an altercation”.

A fresh statement, issued on X after the original had been deleted, said: “The use of the term ‘openly Jewish’ by one of our officers is hugely regrettable. We know it will have caused offence to many. We reiterate our apology.

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 (Campaign Against Antisemitism/PA Wire)

“We have reflected on the strength of the response to our previous statement. In an effort to make a point about the policing of protest we caused further offence. This was never our intention. We have removed that statement and we apologise.

“Being Jewish is not a provocation. Jewish Londoners must be able to feel safe in this city.

“Our commitment to protecting the public extends to all communities across London. It’s important that our public statements reflect that more clearly than they did today.”

The antisemitism campaigner involved in the incident was Gideon Falter, chief executive of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, who 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.

A video clip posted by the organisation 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 had said earlier on Friday: “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.”

The Campaign Against Antisemitism stated in response: “We absolutely reject this narrative from @MetPoliceUK. It is appalling, abject victim blaming.”

The incident in addition to the power’s preliminary assertion sparked a backlash on-line.

One person on X posted: “It’s not ‘regrettable’ for an officer to threaten an individual with arrest for a breach of the peace offence on the basis of appearing ‘openly Jewish’. It was racist discrimination. Call it exactly what it is. That you suggested being Jewish was a ‘provocation’ says it all.”

Another was among the many many describing the scenario as “embarrassing” for the Met, writing: “Christ this palava is so embarrassing. Not for me, not for us, but for the once great institution of the Met. How on earth do you expect us to accept policing by consent if you treat Jewish people so unfairly.”

Mr Falter stated he had been strolling within the capital after attending synagogue and was not there to counter-protest.

In the clip, one other officer stated 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 stated that Mr Falter’s presence was “antagonising”.

Mr Falter stated 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 stated he might be strolling in London on 27 April, including that no a part of the capital ought to be unsafe.

In his preliminary assertion, Mr Twist stated the problems surrounding the continuing protests are “complex, contentious and polarising” and create a “very difficult environment” for officers to police.

He instructed of a “new trend” rising in current weeks, during which folks attend protests to specific opposing views, typically whereas filming themselves. He stated officers intervene to maintain opposing teams aside and forestall dysfunction, somewhat than to “stifle” free speech.

In the sooner assertion, Mr Twist stated: “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 time period ‘brazenly Jewish’ by one in every of our officers is massively 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.”

The Campaign Against Antisemitism stated in response: “Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley has sent Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist to blame us for putting a ‘dent in the confidence of many Jewish Londoners’ by releasing the video and claiming that the presence of Jews crossing the route of the march was ‘provocative’.

“What puts a ‘dent’ in Jewish Londoners’ confidence in the Met is the Met’s own decision to curtail the rights of Jews in order to appease lawless mobs.

“What is ‘provocative’ is telling a Jewish Londoner that his presence will ‘antagonise’ crowds and that unless he leaves he will be arrested.”

Tens of 1000’s of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered in London final Saturday to name for a ceasefire and urge the federal government to cease all arms gross sales to Israel.

Crowds waved Palestinian flags, chanted “free Palestine” and held indicators calling for a “ceasefire now” and an finish to arms gross sales.