Man Near Pro-Palestinian Protest Threatened With Arrest for Being 'Openly Jewish'

AP Photo/Kin Cheung

Gideon Falter, the mild-mannered head of the  Campaign Against Antisemitism, was walking down a street in central London with some friends after attending synagogue. Whether intentional or not, they came across a pro-Palestinian protest march.


Mr. Falter was wearing his kippah skull cap and carrying a bag with his prayer shawl when he was stopped by a police sergeant. 

“You are quite openly Jewish," the sergeant said apologetically. "This is a pro-Palestinian march. I am not accusing you of anything but I am worried about the reaction to your presence.”

This happened in downtown London, a great, big, grown-up Western city, not some third-world backwater.

A short time later, Falter was confronted by another police officer.

 “If you chose to remain here because you are causing a breach of the peace with all of these other people you will be arrested…because your presence here is antagonising a large group of people.”

Being arrested for...what? Looking too Jewish? 

I shouldn't have to point this out but isn't it sorta. kinda, I mean, mostly the police officers' job to keep the peace? And if he can't keep the peace by himself, he can always call for backup. 

Being told that your very existence "antagonizes" people is the most dehumanizing message these cops could give anyone. And it's not just Mr. Falter. There are reports from London of "No Go" zones for Jews. 

The real controversy about this incident began when the Metropolitan Police issued a statement about it.

The Times of Israel:

Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist on Thursday apologized for the “openly Jewish” remark, but in the same statement also invited fresh criticism by criticizing pro-Israel individuals for being “provocative.”

Following a further torrent of criticism, the police on Friday deleted the earlier statement from its X account and issued a new one, in which the force apologized for the wording of some of the previous apology and clarified that “being Jewish is not a provocation.”


Even the new statement ended up being controversial for this passage:

“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.”

They are expressing themselves as free people are wont to do. Whether or not they are "provocative" is not on them. And it's up to the Metropolitan Police to do their jobs and keep the peace.

The police issued another statement, which read: “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.” 

If you're so concerned about "provocation, why not cancel the pro-Palestinian marches, which are thinly disguised advertisements for genocide?

The weekly marches of tens of thousands of people through the UK capital have seen calls for an “intifada” or uprising, as well as chants that advocate the destruction of Israel, such as, “We don’t want two states, Palestine ’48.”

In the since-deleted statement by the Metropolitan Police, Twist said the footage of Falter being blocked will “further dent the confidence of many Jewish Londoners which is the opposite of what any of us want.” He added: “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 offense to many. We apologize.”


I don't agree with those who claim that Great Britain and much of Western Europe are "lost." There are still many good people who are willing to fight for Western values. But they're losing, that's for sure. And I don't know what can turn the tide.


Trending on PJ Media Videos

Join the conversation as a VIP Member