The High Court of Justice in London ordered a regulatory agency to reopen an investigation of a pharmacist who promoted antisemitism at a pro-Palestinian rally in 2017.
Nazim Ali, managing partner of Chelsea Pharmacy, had said over a loudspeaker that “Zionist supporters of the Tory Party [were] responsible for the murder of the people in Grenfell,” and that “Zionists are here to occupy Regent Street … it’s in their genes.”
Last December, the GPHC’s Fitness to Practice Committee (FTP) said that Ali’s remarks were “grossly offensive” and “brought disgrace upon the profession,” but ruled that no reasonable person would perceive his remarks as antisemitic and sanctioned him with a warning.
In overturning that decision, Wednesday’s court’s order will require the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPHC) to reassess whether Ali’s comments were indeed antisemitic.
Justice Jeremy Johnson said the FTP wrongly considered both Ali’s “intention” and “character” when assessing whether his comments were “objectively antisemitic,” and failed to weigh their cumulative effect.
While leading the 2017 Al Quds Day rally, Ali’s speech also told attendees that “any Zionist, any Jew coming into your center supporting Israel, any Jew coming into your center who is a Zionist, any Jew coming into your center who is a member for the Board of Deputies, is not a rabbi, he’s an imposter.”
“Remember brothers and sisters, Zionists are not Jews,” he also said.
In a statement, GPHC Chief Duncan Rudkin agreed with the court that the regulatory body had erred in its decision, saying, “We will make sure the learnings from this case and the High Court judgement are shared across the organization and our committees.”
The Campaign Against Antisemitism, which reported the FTP’s previous decision to the Professional Standards Authority, praised the decision, saying in a statement that “the road to justice in this case proved long and winding, but we are here again heading in the right direction.”
“We commend the Professional Standards Authority and the General Pharmaceutical Council for recognizing the injustice of the earlier decision,” it said.
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Author: Dion J. Pierre
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