Today (9 June) at the Royal Courts of Justice the hearing (reference CO/4878/2020) took place of the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) against the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) , following the GPhC’s ludicrous determination that Nazim Ali’s hate-filled tirade when leading the pro-Hizbolla Iran-sponsored Al Quds march on 18 June 2017 was not antisemitic. See also my reports of the GPhC hearing here and here. After the determination was published, it was me who discovered that the Professional Standards Authority had the power to intervene and it was me and UK Lawyers for Israel who wrote to the Professional Standards Authority. CAA’s lawyers wrote some weeks later.
The hearing was before Mr Justice Johnson. The acoustics were terrible (why do Courts make it so hard to hear properly?).
The PSA’s barrister was Fenella Morris QC. She did a reasonable job. At the GPhC hearing, one of the four chants singled out was this: “The Zionists are here to occupy Regent Street. It’s in their genes, it’s in their genetic code.” At the GPhC hearing, Ali’s barrister had said that this was simply a figure of speech – a metaphor, like David Cameron speaking of the Conservative Party. This was obviously a ruse dreamed up by the barrister. Ms Morris however pointed out that ‘genes’ are personal – not political, not involving Israel – so the reference is likely to be antisemitic.
As regards Ali’s utterance “European alleged Jews. Remember brothers and sisters, Zionists are not Jews” the idiotic GPhC Panel concluded that it couldn’t be antisemitic because the ‘reasonable person’ wouldn’t understand it!! Ms Morris said that to accuse a Jew of not being genuine is antisemitic. But (like Mr Coleman, the GPhC’s barrister at their hearing) she missed the reference (in ‘European Alleged Jews’) to the profoundly antisemitic Khazar myth in this utterance, see here for the explanation of this myth.
“They are responsible for the murder of the people in Grenfell, the Zionist supporters of the Tory Party”
Ludicrously the GPhC Panel decided that this was fair political comment aimed at the government. Ms Morris said that ‘Zionist’ was a word which refers only to the establishment of the State of Israel. So to use it in this way must be antisemitic.
Mr Justice Johnson pointed out an inconsistency in the GPhC determination. The Panel has accepted an objective test for antisemitism but then relied on Ali’s subjective assessments.
The GPhC’s barrister hardly said anything. Nazim Ali’s barrister was again David Gottlieb. Remember this disgraceful piece of moral non-equivalence he rustled up at the GPhC hearing:
“What’s the position of a young black pharmacist if he walks past a neo-Nazi demonstration and loses his temper?”
Gottlieb was the barrister in the Lee Rigby case who argued that the Old Bailey Judge should have allowed the jury to consider the argument of Rigby’s killer, that he was merely a ‘Soldier of Allah” .
The audibility wasn’t good and Gottlieb made no attempt to project his voice beyond the Judge. He mostly seemed to be reiterating the GPhC’s determination – at considerable length.
Mr Justice Johnson’s determination will be given out sometime in the next three weeks. It should be posted on http://baillii.org/ The outcome is hard to predict – but the interaction of the Judge with Ms Morris seemed far more animated than that with Mr Gottlieb. Maybe that’s a good sign…