Met Police apologises and withdraws statement over video of officer saying man 'quite openly Jewish'

A Met Police officer pictured from behind
The Met Police released a statement after an officer was filmed telling a Jewish man he was 'antagonising' a group of pro-Palestine protesters by walking down the street looking 'quite openly Jewish' (stock photo) -Credit:Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images

The Metropolitan Police has apologised for its initial statement after a video showed an officer telling a man he could not walk past a pro-Palestine protest because he was 'quite openly Jewish'. Gideon Falter, chief executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA), was wearing a kippah skull-cap when he was stopped in the Aldwych area last Saturday (April 13), near a pro-Palestine march.

In the video, an officer is seen saying that Mr Falter is 'openly Jewish' so is worried about the reaction to his presence at the Pro-Palestinian march. The officer goes on to threaten him with arrest saying his presence is 'antagonising a large group of people' and causing a 'breach of peace'.

The Metropolitan Police released a statement on Friday (April 19) to apologise for the officer's remarks, and also for an earlier statement from the force which caused further outrage. The original statement described a 'new trend of those opposed to the main protests appearing alongside the route to express their views', and 'knowing their presence is provocative'.

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The Campaign Against Antisemitism called the initial statement from the Met 'abject victim blaming' and said that they 'absolutely reject' the narrative it made. They stated that the initial statement 'should be immediately retracted' and went on to say that they 'must not be intimidated by protesters or prevented by police from exercising our rights'.

After withdrawing their first statement the Met's second statement said that the use of 'openly Jewish' by one of their officers is 'hugely regrettable'. They are aware of the offence it caused and 'reiterate our apology'.

They then state that 'being Jewish is not a provocation' and that 'Jewish Londoners must be able to feel safe in this city'. They finished by saying that they are committed 'to protecting the public' and that their 'public statements reflect that more clearly than they did today'.

London has been at the centre of pro-Palestine protests in recent months, and also counter protests that call for Jews not to be persecuted over Israel's war against Hamas. The ongoing conflict has led to tensions between some Muslim and Jewish communities, and the Met Police officer's suggestion that Jewish people's movements around London should be restricted to avoid disorder has been met with widespread condemnation.

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