This summer I was unfortunate enough to be the subject of a vile antisemitic attack. I’m an orthodox Jew involved in interfaith and I run a website that promotes friendship between Jews and Muslims. I visited Speakers Corner in London to connect with British Muslims on the 10 May 2015. While engaging in a positive conversation with a like minded Muslim, a furious gentleman named Mr. Ali Abdullah approached us screaming at the Muslim “don’t trust the Jews, they’re evil”. Fearing for my safety I took out my camera to capture whatever events were about to unfold. < Mr. Abdullah launched into dispicable 25 minute anti-Jewish rant, accusing us of drinking the blood of Christian children, genetically smelling, being Jewish whores, being the enemies of the Muslims, being anti-human, descending from pigs and monkeys, controlling the world, he then went on to deny the holocaust and declared Hitler the saviour of the German people. < Once he’d finished he raised his right hand and swung at me, I thought he was trying to attack me, but instead he grabbed my phone and smashed it, he then fled the scene. A Jewish passerby who'd filmed this video, came to my assistance and called the police, then in an act of momentous stupidity Mr. Abdullah returned to the scene of the crime, where he was promptly arrested and charged with:
1) Racially / religiously aggravated intentional harassment / alarm / distress - words / writing 2) Use threatening / abusive / insulting words / behaviour to cause harassment / alarm / distress 3) Criminal damage to property valued under £5000
One of the most shocking aspects of this verbal and physical attack was that there were over a dozen people watching the abuse, yet nobody came to my defence. Would they have been as silent if it were a black man being called a monkey? I can’t help wondering whether for some people antisemitism isn't that concerning a prejudice.
On Monday (9/11/15) Mr. Abdullah was cleared by Hammersmith Magistrates of all the racial and religiously aggravated aspects of the crime. Instead he was charged with “criminal damage” for smashing my phone. The court ruled there was no race or religious criminal aspects to the attack. While they considered his words to be "wrong" - they ruled everything he’d said was legal under UK law as they "thought" I was neither “alarmed, harassed or distressed”, even though I’d testified in court that I was terrified and visibly shaken after the ordeal. Similarly the Jewish passerby also testified that as a Jew he was "upset" and "shocked" by the attack, but this was dismissed as the magistrates felt he too was neither "alarmed, distressed or harassed".
It would seem that in the UK antisemitism like that expressed by Mr. Abdullah is entirely legal, even when it ends with a physical attack.