Solicitor accused of posting ‘Zionist pig’ tweet at Jewish journalist

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Solicitor accused of posting ‘Zionist pig’ tweet at Jewish journalist

Farrukh Najeeb Husain, an immigration and employment law specialist, denied charges that he breached professional rules with comments on Twitter

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

A solicitor has been accused of labelling the journalist Hugo Rifkind a “Zionist pig” after posting a “significant number” of antisemitic tweets.

Appearing at a solicitors’ disciplinary tribunal hearing Farrukh Najeeb Husain denied charges that he breached professional rules with his comments on Twitter in 2021.

A report in the Law Society Gazette, published by the professional body for solicitors in England and Wales, revealed how lawyers acting for regulators told the tribunal that Husain  posted abusive messages about Rifkind, who is Jewish, after he interviewed  the historian and travel writer William Dalrymple on Times Radio.

Husain, an immigration and employment law specialist, is accused of desiring  Rifkind as a “typical Zionist” and “Zionist pig”.

The son of Conservative politician Sir Malcolm Rifkind and his wife Edith, Hugo has enjoyed a successful career as a columnist for The Times newspaper, and has also appeared on as a Time Radio presenter, along with regular slots on BBC Radio 4.

Louise Culleton, for the prosecution, said Husain had posted “a significant number of inappropriate and offensive tweets over the nine months, some of them being antisemitic as well as inappropriate and/or offensive. Some are just plainly extremely offensive to the individual they were directed to as well as in general, amounting to conduct unbefitting a solicitor”.

She asked the tribunal to consider the tweets in light of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism.

Culleton said that “Zionist” was invoked “in many instances” as a synonym for Jew.

During the first day, of the five day hearing,  Husain was also accused of responding to a barrister with a “reference to Nazi language” and with a “deliberate reference to the Holocaust”.

Husain — who qualified in 2014 and worked at the law firm Bevan Brittan — is also accused of having sent offensive emails to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), one of which referred to “Zionist apologists and fascists”.

Bevan Brittan said Husain was a self-employed consultant.

“As soon as we became aware of his social media activity, we reported it to the SRA,” it added.

The solicitors’ watchdog has previously published a warning over “a significant increase in the number of complaints concerning inappropriate communications, specifically in relation to . . . emails and the use of social media”.

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