Until we succeeded, Campaign Against Antisemitism had always been told that it was completely impossible to force the state to take action against antisemites. The Jewish community had tried coaxing the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) into action over the course of decades to no avail. When Campaign Against Antisemitism was formed, we too tried to amicably convince the CPS to do more, even arranging a summit with the then Home Secretary, Theresa May, and the current Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders.
It soon became clear to us that pleading with the CPS would not work, but when we took legal action we were told by others in the Jewish community that confronting the CPS could only be damaging and would not result in progress.
Our approach has now been totally vindicated.
In July 2015, neo-Nazis sought to march through Golders Green. We stopped their march, and instead they gathered in a kettling pen in Westminster. One of them, Jeremy Bedford-Turner, said that: “…all politicians are nothing but a bunch of puppets dancing to a Jewish tune, and the ruling regimes in the West for the last one hundred years have danced to the same tune.” Evoking medieval libels which claimed that Jews drank the blood of non-Jewish children, Bedford-Turner told his followers, of whom one third were from the violent extreme-right National Rebirth of Poland group, that the French Revolution and both World Wars were massacres perpetrated by Jews. He concluded that England was “merry” during the period of the expulsion of Jews from England and demanded: “Let’s free England from Jewish control.” The speech was filmed and posted on YouTube, where it remains.
When the CPS refused to prosecute him, we launched judicial review proceedings to quash the CPS’s decision not to prosecute, and after 13 months, we won a comprehensive victory. There was a risk however that the CPS could take us back to square one by refusing to prosecute for a different reason, and we would have had to start our judicial review again.
We have now learned that Jeremy Bedford-Turner has been charged with incitement to racial hatred for his speech.
In 2015 we also reported Alison Chabloz to police over her antisemitic social media activity. Due to strict time limits on bringing prosecutions, and the failure of the criminal justice system to act on the information that we provided to them, we were forced to launch a private prosecution. We alleged that Ms Chabloz had produced and circulated various antisemitic music videos.
Earlier this year, accepting that Ms Chabloz should have been prosecuted, the CPS exercised its power to take over our private prosecution. On Wednesday last week, after Campaign Against Antisemitism sent more than a dozen letters to police with information about alleged bail breaches and further hate crimes, she has now been arrested on suspicion of breaching her bail conditions and committing additional crimes.
Neither Mr Bedford-Turner nor Ms Chabloz are important people, but their cases are important because the fact that prosecutions are being brought represents two major successes in Campaign Against Antisemitism’s struggle to ensure that alleged antisemites face the full force of the law. After remaining defiantly inert for years, the CPS has now been forced by our legal interventions to take action.
We will maintain our efforts and are discussing further cases with our lawyers. In particular, we would like to thank Brian Kennelly QC, Jamie Susskind and David Sonn, who acted pro bono in our judicial review of the decision not to prosecute Jeremy Bedford-Turner, and Jonathan Goldberg QC, Jeffrey Israel, Senghin Kong and Stephen Gilchrist who acted pro bono in our private prosecution of Alison Chabloz.
When Campaign Against Antisemitism was formed in 2014, we promised to do our level best to ensure that the law was enforced against antisemitism with zero tolerance, and that remains our mission today.
If you have been the victim of an antisemitic crime, or antisemitism at the hands of a member of a regulated profession (for example a teacher, doctor, security guard, charity worker or accountant), and you are dissatisfied with the way it was dealt with by police or regulators, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and we will look into whether we can help.