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Thursday 5 November 2020

Campaign Against Antisemitism Latest Shame

[Update at end of post]

Previously, Zelo Street noted the draughty glasshouse inhabited by those who constitute the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA). A group that is hot on racism had, at the time, people involved with it whose own track record on the subject was less than perfect. But what was not considered was the lengths to which the CAA will go to pursue its targets.

And it is that aspect of the CAA that comes across as at the very least mystifying, and at worst needlessly vindictive. After the EHRC delivered its report on allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, the CAA was not content. Instead, they submitted complaints against several Labour MPs, including deputy leader Angela Rayner.

Rather more seriously, the CAA has been pursuing Nazim Ali. He is, in his professional capacity, a pharmacist, and is the managing partner of the Chelsea Pharmacy Medical Clinic. He has also, in the past, led an annual “Al Quds day” march through London. It is statements he made in that capacity in 2017 that have caused the CAA to intervene.

Ali made a number of claims about “Zionists” and the Board of Deputies of British Jews. His language was apparently aggressive; whether it was anti-Semitic has been the topic of considerable debate. The CAA sought a criminal prosecution against Ali; the CPS declined to proceed. They then attempted a private prosecution; the CPS blocked it.

The CAA, though, were not downhearted: they complained to Ali’s professional body, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). And it is here where the CAA loses me, and, I suspect, many others. Ensuring Ali apologises, understands the potential for offence, considers his behaviour and perhaps desists from leading marches, yes, that sounds OK.

But the inevitable conclusion of roping in the GPhC is that Ali could lose his professional status, and from there, could easily be ruined. That is why I conclude that the CAA’s behaviour is, at least potentially, needlessly vindictive. One also wonders what action against all those Labour MPs will be deemed sufficient, short of deselection or expulsion.

Also notable about this case has been the presence of David Collier. As Zelo Street regulars will know, his campaign against anti-Semitism has been highly selective, to the extent that, by his own admission, he has done nothing to tackle the problem when it comes from the Tory Party. Selective anti-racism is unforgivable: all racism should be tackled and rooted out. And the CAA has had Islamophobic Patrons.

And, sad to say for the CAA, the GPhC ruled that Nazim Ali’s comments were not anti-Semitic, but concluded that they were offensive. He will no doubt reflect on his use of the potentially pejorative term “Zionist” and leave it well alone in future. After all, the expression is loaded many times over, not least because of Christian Zionism, which has its own problems with anti-Semitism. He will probably retain his professional status.

In conclusion, the question has to be asked: does the CAA find the possibility of ruining one or more of its targets acceptable behaviour? How can that be justified?

That answer would make for interesting reading. But I doubt it will be forthcoming.

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[UPDATE 1805 hours: Nazim Ali has been given a warning by the GPhC. The CAA is not happy, but their target has been through quite enough. And had time to dwell upon the seriousness of his actions]


Anonymous said...

For many years in the US, openly criticizing Israel and showing support for Palestinians could cost you your job. Sad to see it happening in the UK now.

Red Star said...

Zelo Street, your comments about the CAA are anti-semitic.

(I don't know how, but this is the CAA - anything they don't like is, by definition, anti-semitic).

This particular djinn (or Jewish equivalent) is well and truly out of the bottle now, and its just going to escalate until someone sues the arse off them or otherwise takes them down.

Anonymous said...

If this trend worsens - and all the indications are it will - these "antisemitism" constructs are going to backfire in the most spectacularly awful manner.

Enough is enough.

Alan said...

It would be interesting to see if any members or supporters of the CAA are members of the British Zionist Association. This opens up the interesting prospect of self-described Zionists trying to ruin others for calling them Zionists.

I'm also baffled to see how this gentleman's criticism of the ideology, however offensive it may be, has any relevance to his work as a pharmacist. For my part, I find Zionism offensive, as I do Toryism, but I am not going to refuse to buy a packet of aspirin because the chemist's a Tory or Zionist.

Anonymous said...

It's been mentioned here before but Louise Mensch accused Theodor Herzl, one of Israel's founding fathers, of anti-semitism on the basis of his use of the word Zionist. https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/08/18/louise-mensch-theodor-herzl-zionist-twitter_n_5688177.html

I'm reminded of Otto in A Fish Called Wanda.