NJA Calls for Comprehensive Review and Reform in Policing Pro-Palestine Demonstrations

The National Jewish Assembly (NJA) is deeply concerned about the events surrounding the recent pro-Palestine demonstrations in London, particularly the interaction involving Gideon Falter, Chief Executive of the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA), and the Metropolitan Police. While the NJA acknowledges that the police officer involved may not have intended to be antisemitic, the use of clumsy language in a highly charged environment, and the Metropolitan Police’s highly problematic statement after the event which effectively victim-blamed Falter, underscores a broader issue with the policing of such events.

The continued allowance of hate chants, genocidal calls, and the display of Nazi swastikas and other hateful imagery at these demonstrations is unacceptable. Such elements should have no place in events that are supposedly peaceful, both claimed by organisers and affirmed by police statements. The visible policing of Jewish individuals, such as Mr. Falter, highlights a significant concern: if these marches are genuinely peaceful, why is there a need for such measures?

The NJA recognises the challenges faced by the Metropolitan Police in managing public order during demonstrations. However, we believe that there is a severe misjudgement in handling the glaringly obvious antisemitic elements within these protests and the pro-Palestine movement as a whole.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s support for Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley is noted. We urge Commissioner Rowley to take substantial steps towards rebuilding trust not only with the Jewish community but with all communities affected by similar issues. This includes a thorough review and reform of how demonstrations are policed, to prevent hate speech and incitement to violence, and to ensure the safety and dignity of the wider community.

While the Metropolitan Police may not be institutionally antisemitic, clearly there are significant improvements needed in their operational procedures. The NJA calls for a commitment to these changes to restore confidence and ensure that London remains a city that maintains liberal democratic values and does not forgo the safety and security of the Jewish community in order to appease a virulently antisemitic mob.

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