Setting legal principle to tackle Holocaust deniers

The conviction of Alison Chabloz is the latest success for Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) in bringing antisemites to justice. Just a week before Ms Chabloz was pronounced guilty, another antisemite, Jeremy Bedford-Turner was led from the dock to begin a year-long sentence for a speech inciting hatred against Jews.

Ms Chabloz had dedicated herself over the course of years to inciting hatred against Jews, principally by claiming that the Holocaust was a hoax perpetrated by Jews to defraud the world. Mr Bedford-Turner had been a key organiser of the 2015 “anti-Jewification” rally in London and his speech had even included medieval blood libel.

Neither case was in any way borderline. Mr Bedford-Turner was convicted unanimously by a jury after a very short trial, and District Judge Zani ruled that he was “entirely satisfied” and “by some considerable margin” that Ms Chabloz was guilty.

What is so remarkable is that neither Ms Chabloz or Mr Bedford-Turner would have been brought to justice had matters been left to the state. Indeed the Crown Prosecution Service fought us tooth and nail in court to avoid having to prosecute. In both cases, the institutions responsible for protecting British Jews had insisted that no crimes had been committed.

By winning these cases and others, CAA is establishing vital legal principles on the legality of Holocaust denial, the standing of the international definition of antisemitism, and at which point antisemitism becomes criminal offence. But why is it being left to us?

We will not stop going to court to bring antisemites to justice and force the state to act, but the Jewish community, through CAA, is uniquely having to take Jewish victims’ cases to court and enforce the law ourselves. That is a national disgrace.

About the Author
Gideon Falter is chairman of the Campaign Against Antisemitism
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