The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) has lodged a complaint with the Charity Commission about what it calls “the continued harassment of one of its directors” in “a vindictive campaign to silence anti-Israeli and anti-Zionist voices.”
The complaint comes after the pro-Israel Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAA) launched a judicial review of a decision last month by the Crown Prosecution Service to throw out an attempted private prosecution against Nazim Ali on the grounds that chants he made during last June’s Al-Quds demonstration in London caused alarm or distress to Zionists taking part in a counter demonstration.
The IHRC said it had hoped that would be the end of the matter but “the CAA seems intent on pursuing a case that clearly has no merit in law.”
Mr Ali, an Islamic Human Rights Commission speaker, made several anti-Israel and anti-Zionist comments during the march but the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) found that he had no case to answer.
Zionists took particular offence when Ali said: “Some of the biggest corporations who are supporting the Conservative Party are Zionists. They are responsible for the murder in Grenfell. The Zionist supporters of the Tory Party.”
In the letter to the Charity Commission, the IHRC calls on the regulator to investigate whether the CAA is in breach of charity law by using charitable funds to relentlessly pursue “false, vindictive and patently flawed cases.”
It is certainly “not in the interest of the public for charitable funds to be used to pursue personal vendettas against political opponents,” says the letter.
“The Commission should decide whether it is appropriate for CAA to keep their status as a charitable organisation whilst squandering their funds to silence and attack people who exercise their freedom of expression.”
The Campaign Against Antisemitism was formed in August 2014 during a major Israeli offensive against Gaza.
It says it works closely with police forces around the country, the Crown Prosecution Service, regulatory bodies and the government to ensure that antisemitism is detected, investigated and punished with the full force of the law.
Last week it issued court proceedings against the national prosecuting agency after the CPS derailed CAA’s own private prosecution of Nazim Ali.
CAA has alleged that Ali made anti-Semitic statements during the pro-Palestinian rally, including a suggestion that “Zionists” were in part responsible for the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
However, CAA said it was now challenging that CPS decision “on the basis that it was irrational and unreasonable.”
“This is a case that the CPS should have prosecuted itself,” said CAA chair Gideon Falter. “Our emphatic legal advice is that their decision to prevent us from doing so was irrational. We hope to succeed and resume the prosecution.”
In response to the CAA’s decision to pursue a judicial review, a CPS spokesman said: “We will be opposing the application.”
He added: “The CPS stopped the case after a senior prosecutor carefully reviewed all the available evidence and considered legal representations from the CAA and the suspect.
“After applying the relevant law we concluded there was no realistic prospect of conviction and therefore the evidential test for prosecution set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors was not met.”