OPINION: The law is the rightful weapon

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OPINION: The law is the rightful weapon

Article 10 of the Human Rights Act provides for freedom of expression, but surely not at the cost of the intimidation and vilification of a whole community? writes KC Jeremy Dein for Jewish News

Pro-Palestine vigil outside Downing St
Pro-Palestine vigil outside Downing St

Another hate filled weekend. The Jewish Sabbath marred by reports of support for Hamas, anti-Semitic chanting, and physical intimidation . Jewish families targeted by men holding green flares, waving Palestinian flags, shouting from cars outside their place of worship, North London Synagogue, on Saturday night.

Is this the peaceful weekend of demonstration warmly embraced by sections of the media and thousands of UK citizens ?

Do the admirers of the culprits not appreciate or care that the fine, law abiding, loyal, and hardworking Jewish community of Great Britain is being crushed by all of this ?

As horrendous is the hate-filled world of social media, inspired by high profile figures hotly denying that 7 October 2023 ever took place. Growing and repeated claims that Jews abducted, murdered and tortured themselves. The language of vitriol used. Even some lawyers, marketing hate on the back of their professional profiles, are spreading the message of fiction with relish.

We are fortunate to have a government alive to the need to bring the law of Public disorder, Terrorist offences and Hate crime into the winter of 2023. The balance between freedom of expression and Hate crime is traditionally a challenging one, with the European Convention on Human rights hovering in the back ground.

Article 10 provides for freedom of expression, but surely not at the cost of the intimidation and vilification of a whole community. The problem as it stands is that existing offences were not built to cater for the global world of internet, social media and 24/7 international communication. Nor could it ever have been foreseen that a campaign of relentless , merciless and unparalleled anti-Semitic hate could be unleashed with such speed and venom in the modern world.

Jeremy Dein KC

The Public Disorder Act 1986, the Terrorist Acts 2000 and 2006 provide the existing framework for stamping out the poisonous misconduct of those purposefully tormenting the Jewish community. The former is way out of date. It was designed to target specific victims and proven, individual distress. It does not begin to protect the Jewish community from remote attacks, nor does it have potential to criminalise widespread impact of any meaningful kind.

Specifically, it cannot stamp on the evil of stirring up and encouraging both anti-Semitic feelings and/or glorification of terrorism. Equally, the current terrorist legislation consists of complex and disparate features wholly inadequate, and certainly ineffective, in addressing the array of anti-Semitic issues that now plague Jewish Life.

In addition, the layers of interpretive argument that have been raised to mask what are self evidently anti-Semitic chants, such as “Fom the river to the sea” demotivate both the police and the CPS )Crown Prosecution Service) from charging or proceeding. All of this must change. Now.

The law of Public Disorder will be revolutionised. Support for Hamas and related terrorist groups will be identifiably criminalised. The racist cowards who use threats, violence and intimidation against innocent Jewish civilians in this country will be rooted out. The fun will be over for the messengers of hate, however famous their names.

The Jewish community owes it to the victims of 7/10 as well as ourselves to fight bitterly for our safety, our dignity, and our rights.

The law is the rightful weapon. Let it take its course. If not today, tomorrow.

Come what may, Justice for every Jewish victim must prevail.

  • Jeremy Dein, (KC) King’s Counsel
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