By Adam Moses
The General Pharmaceutical Council has finally accepted comments made by Nazim Ali, leader of the annual Al Quds Day rally in 2027, were antisemitic.
The GPhC have also confirmed it will not contest an appeal brought by the Professional Standards Authority on behalf of Campaign Against Antisemitism over a previous decision to only issue Ali a formal warning.
CAA have welcomed the outcome after a protracted case.
Stephen Silverman, CAA Director of Investigations and Enforcement, noted, “We commend the GPhC for recognising that the original ruling by its Fitness to Practise panel was badly flawed and for taking the necessary steps to correct it.”
Silverman said it was “absolutely right” to recognise Ali’s comments were antisemitic and the GPhC decision and sanction were inadequate and wrong.
“The road to justice in this case has proved long and winding, but we are again heading in the right direction,” he noted. “It is important that we are unrelenting in pursuit of such cases.”
The GPhC panel found Ali, a pharmacist, brought the pharmaceutical profession into disrepute following a two-week hearing but did not find Ali had been antisemitic so issued the basic warning.
Following the ruling, CAA approached the PSA, which oversees GPhC disciplinary rulings, to appeal the decision in the High Court as it did not protect the public due to being “irrational and perverse”.
CAA, in particular, asked PSA to review GPhC’s ruling that Ali’s statements were not antisemitic, including by attempting to distinguish between “antisemitism” and “antisemitic”. CAA further argued that the ruling misapplied the law.
The High Court could have quashed the GPhC panel’s decision. Ali can defend the PSA decision in the High Court.
CAA made its initial complaint to the GPhC over Ali in 2017 when he led the pro-Hezbollah ‘Al Quds Day’ parade four days after the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
Heading the parade, surrounded by the flags of Hizballah, Ali reportedly shouted over a public address system, “Some of the biggest corporations who are supporting the Conservative Party are Zionists. They are responsible for the murder of the people in Grenfell, in those towers in Grenfell. The Zionist supporters of the Tory Party. Free, Free, Palestine.”
Later he told marchers, “Careful of those Rabbis who belong to the Board of Deputies, who have got blood on their hands, who agree with the killing of British soldiers. Do not allow them in your centres.”
The events were filmed by CAA members Demonstration and Event Monitoring Unit.
CAA had previously sought a criminal prosecution of Ali.
When the Crown Prosecution Service refused to prosecute him, they launched a private prosecution which CPS used its statutory powers to take over and discontinue, protecting Ali from prosecution.