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‘I was Jewish and crossing the street’: Campaigner criticises ‘outrageous’ reaction to antisemitism row | UK News

The campaigner at the centre of an antisemitism row with the Metropolitan Police has criticised “outrageous” comments made by a former senior officer who said he would have considered arresting him for assault.

Gideon Falter, the chief executive of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, has spoken to Sky News on Kay Burley at Breakfast after footage showed a police officer preventing him from crossing a road near a pro-Palestinian march in London because he was “openly Jewish”.

The officer also told Mr Falter, who was wearing a kippah skull cap near the march on Saturday 13 April, that he was “worried about the reaction to your presence”.

Mr Falter has called on Met Police chief Sir Mark Rowley to resign and accused the force of “victim-blaming” after the encounter.

Sky News understands Sir Mark will meet the home secretary this morning.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said he has confidence in Sir Mark but that he needs to rebuild “confidence and trust” with the Jewish community.

Meanwhile, former Met Chief Superintendent Dal Babu said he has seen the full 13-minute video of the incident on Sky News and saw a “different encounter” to the one Mr Falter had described.

Mr Babu said that if he had been policing the march he would have considered arresting the antisemitism campaigner for “assault on a police officer and a breach of the peace”.

Mr Falter said in response: “I think it’s a pretty outrageous thing to say, I think it’s a pretty outrageous thing to be giving any credence to.

“I was Jewish. I was crossing the street”.

Mr Falter added: “I did not assault a police officer. How on Earth can anybody say that? I’m quite clearly in the video trying to continue to walk where I was going.”

Mr Babu later reaffirmed his view of the encounter and said the video shows Mr Falter pushing policing officers “out of the way” which amounts to “common assault”.

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New video of ‘openly Jewish’ row

The force apologised on Friday for using the term “openly Jewish”, but then had to apologise for their apology after suggesting opponents of pro-Palestinian marches “must know that their presence is provocative”.

The Met said in its initial apology that its aim was to keep people safe.

Mr Falter has said he is planning to go for a walk in the vicinity of a pro-Palestinian march again on Saturday 27 April, adding that he “should be allowed to do that”.

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‘Time for Mark Rowley to go’

Earlier on the show, a black journalist said that although he wouldn’t want to, he would avoid a far-right march if he knew one was being held in a certain place in London.

Mr Falter said in response: “It is outrageous to put to me that the correct response of Jewish people to these marches, where we have seen such brazen antisemitism the whole time is to just stay away from them.”

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