The CEO of the Jewish Leadership Council, Simon Johnson, has once again launched an attack on Campaign Against Antisemitism, this time berating us for privately prosecuting the leader of this summer’s pro-Hizballah “Al Quds Day” procession through London after the Crown Prosecution Service failed to act.
Mr Johnson, who claims to represent the British Jewish community, used Twitter to publicly decry our private prosecution, saying that it “risks making things worse” and we will “make yet more fear”, which he claimed is “par for the course” for Campaign Against Antisemitism.
Ironically, Mr Johnson, whose salary is double Campaign Against Antisemitism’s annual operating budget, claimed that our private prosecution, which is being conducted by expert lawyers who are donating their time pro bono, is a “waste of money”.
Mr Johnson was rounded on by Twitter users who fiercely defended Campaign Against Antisemitism and its volunteers, with one activist even setting up a petition demanding that Mr Johnson apologise or resign. We are very grateful to the many people who have spoken out in our support.
In August, Mr Johnson humiliated himself by making a video claiming that our volunteers engage in “hyperbolic scaremongering” as part of an “attempt to grab attention and appearances on television”. Sharing the video through the Jewish Leadership Council’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, he admonished us for highlighting antisemitism, which he said was an attempt to “create a situation of panic in this community”, and for daring to criticise the authorities for failing to take sufficient action.
At the time, we did all that we could to resolve the matter behind the scenes to avoid embarrassing the Jewish Leadership Council and they deleted the video, which had provoked revulsion within the Jewish community and won the praise of antisemites. That should have been the end of the matter, but instead, despite an agreement that neither side would comment, a day later the Jewish Leadership Council said that it stood by the video that it had deleted.
Mr Johnson, who is a former solicitor, should have realised that his repeated efforts to impugn our motives will likely be seized upon by defendants whom we privately prosecute. Other than that, what does his sniping achieve?
Yet despite repeatedly humiliating himself with his ill-conceived attacks, Mr Johnson has a long track record of publicly attacking Campaign Against Antisemitism. In February 2015 he gave his word that he would offer any criticism privately rather than engaging in public sniping. When he broke his word months later, we asked whether his word was worthless. His reply: “Well, so it was. I admit.” That is not Jewish leadership.
Antisemitic crime and the inadequate response to it by the authorities is a very serious concern that should be seen as an urgent priority for British society and our law enforcement authorities. Mr Johnson’s highly-personal attacks on our volunteers suggest that far from trying to address the situation by raising awareness and taking legal action when the authorities fail to act, we are in fact trying to “make yet more fear” so that we can “grab attention and appearances on television”.
Campaign Against Antisemitism has a longstanding policy of refusing to engage in Jewish community politics. Our focus is on countering antisemites. However, Mr Johnson’s shameful interventions have become too persistent to ignore. Enough is enough.
The Jewish community has many enemies to contend with, and this public sniping by Mr Johnson at those of us trying to tackle antisemitism must now end. Campaign Against Antisemitism has done all that it can behind the scenes to try to stop Mr Johnson’s damaging smears, but since he will not honour his word and does not heed the opinion of our community, it now falls to the trustees of the Jewish Leadership Council to insist that he apologises and then falls silent.
CEO of @JLC_UK Simon Johnson berates us for privately prosecuting Nazim Ali instead of letting him escape justice. Whilst our expert lawyers work pro bono for the good of the community, Mr Johnson is paid £200k/year and attacks us for defending it. Now *that* is a waste of money. https://t.co/FiY6dASJLa
It is with a heavy heart we share this petition. We implore @JLC_uk to stop these unproductive & unprovoked attacks on @antisemitism. To our followers please sign this petition to show your support for public unity within our community. https://t.co/duuHdGsXAr
Well done CAA. That is a well written statement. And we absolutely do need to pursue idiots like this moron at the al quds march. Jewish groups – don't allow your own internal wrangling, egos and pride get in the way of a united,powerful front. The battle is external not within.
I think they are resentful that there is a new more successful team on the block, who are getting more results & more media. If I was very cynical I’d say he’s protecting his salary, but, I sincerely hope it’s only sour grapes.
Antisemitism would soon be the same for Jews here with me as PM as it is now for Jews in Sweden. CAA @antisemitism calls it-damn them-but the reason the Jewish establishment resent their message so much lies in a fearful need to shoot the messenger #Ostriches
Who needs your opinion? The caa is absolutely right to prosecute hate speech, and if you don’t like it, keep quiet. You complain about offensive voices in the jewish community. Well I find your appeasement of Jew hatred offensive in the extreme. Do something useful or get out !
@sjrbsimon He came from the FA. How appropriate. (1) He knows FA about fighting antisemitism (2) He's more concerned with turf battles (the pitch) than the substance (3) His shots at goal come close to hitting the corner flag…
As head of @JLC_uk you have no right to issue this statement. You need to resign as your views are not representative. And Marcus, read the article in today’s @thetimes. There are huge problems all around Europe and the UK is not immune to them
In what way is the CAA wrong? If this odious man escaped any prosecution from CPS, we should be glad that his hate is not simply being forgotten. It's time Jews stood up for themselves, instead of turning the other cheek.
Campaign Against Antisemitism is a volunteer-led charity dedicated to exposing and countering antisemitism through education and zero-tolerance enforcement of the law. Everything that we do is done by people who volunteer their time, using donations contributed by members of the public. Join the fight against antisemitism by subscribing to our updates, volunteering, or donating.