The Professional Standards Authority has been notified of serious concerns about the decision of the General Pharmaceutical Council’s Fitness to Practise Committee regarding Nazim Ali.
Nazim Ali is the pharmacist who said that Zionist supporters of the Tory party were responsible for the murder of people in the Grenfell Tower fire during the “Al Quds Day” march in June 2017. Nazim Ali admitted that his comments were offensive but was acquitted of accusations that they were antisemitic and merely given a warning in the decision of his professional body, made on 5 November 2020.
Al Quds day rally in 2019 Photo by David Collier
UKLFI Charitable Trust has written to the Professional Standards Authority regarding the decision and has asked that it be referred to the High Court under section 29 of the National Health Service Reform and Health Care Professions Act 2002.
Jonathan Turner, Executive Director of UKLFI Charitable Trust submitted to the Authority that a referral to the Court is required to maintain public confidence in the pharmacy profession and proper professional standards and conduct. He commented: “The decision will alarm Jewish people and encourage antisemites. If it is not corrected, future cases of antisemitism and other forms of racism in this and other professions are liable to be similarly mishandled.”
The Professional Standards Authority is the body that oversees organisations that register and regulate people working in health and social care.
UKLFI Charitable Trust supports victims of antisemitism, particularly antisemitism related to Israel, and promotes legal education relating to Israel and antisemitism.
UKLFI Charitable Trust pointed out that the judgment of the General Pharmaceutical Council’s Fitness to Practise Committee reflected a series of fundamental errors. In particular:
The impact of Nazim Ali’s rhetoric was wrongly assessed from the standpoint of an ordinary person. This approach gives a free pass to rhetoric that incites hate in one section of society and strikes fear into another, even if its import is not understood by the majority of society.
The Committee failed to appreciate the true nature of the Al Quds Day event, which they described as “an annual march in Central London in support of Palestinian rights”. It was in reality a hate fest against Israel in which numerous flags supporting the antisemitic terrorist organisation, Hizbollah, were carried by the participants.
The Committee dismissed the evidence of the only witnesses called by the Council, both of whom were Jewish, as of little assistance, on the ground that these witnesses were not the “reasonable person” who ought to assess whether the registrants comments were antisemitic. Furthermore, the Committee insultingly described them as lacking impartiality. One of those witnesses, David Collier, has demonstrated how seriously flawed this view is in these posts: http://david-collier.com/general-pharmaceutical-council/ and http://david-collier.com/justice/.
The Committee failed to appreciate that in some sections of society the word “Zionist” is regularly used to mean a Jew.
“Antisemitic” seems to have been understood by the Committee as hostile to or prejudiced against Jewish people as a religious group. The Committee failed to understand the relationship between Jews as a people and Zionism as their national movement, and failed to assess as “antisemitic” Nazim Ali’s racist hostility to Zionists.
The Committee also seems to have disregarded the IHRA definition of antisemitism (which has been adopted by the British government and many other countries around the world, as well as many institutions within the UK) on the rather odd ground that it defines “antisemitism” rather than “antisemitic”.
According to section 29 of the National Health Service Reform and Health Care Professions Act 2002 , “Where a relevant decision is made, the Authority may refer the case to the relevant court if it considers that the decision is not sufficient (whether as to a finding or a penalty or both) for the protection of the public. Consideration of whether a decision is sufficient for the protection of the public involves consideration of whether it is sufficient—
(a)to protect the health, safety and well-being of the public;
(b)to maintain public confidence in the profession concerned; and
(c)to maintain proper professional standards and conduct for members of that profession.”
Jonathan Turner commented: “In our view, the Committee’s decision undermines public confidence in the regulation of the pharmacy profession. We hope that the decision of the Committee will now be reviewed by the court.”