[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.
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.
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.