Who is Gideon Falter? Campaigner at centre of Palestine march antisemitism row

Gideon Falter was threatened with arrest after a police officer described him ‘openly Jewish’ at a pro-Palestine march

Alexander Butler
Monday 22 April 2024 17:04 BST
‘I was being treated like a criminal for being Jewish’

Antisemitism campaigner Gideon Falter was embroiled in a row after releasing footage of a police officer being “antisemitic” and accusing the force of making London a no-go zone for Jewish people.

Mr Falter, chief executive of the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA), was threatened with arrest and told he was “quite openly Jewish” by a Met Police officer while walking nearby a pro-Palestinian march in London on 13 April.

The interaction, which was caught on video, prompted widespread backlash and two separate apologies from the force, which was accused of “victim-blaming” over its first statement.

The 40-year-old said police treated him like a criminal for being Jewish and accused Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley of failing to curtail the marches and allowing “countless antisemitic hate crimes” to be committed on the streets of London.

The Met Police apologised for the phrase used to describe Mr Falter and said it remained focused on doing “everything possible” to protect Jewish Londoners.

But who is Gideon Falter, what is the controversy and why have the Met Police been criticised? The Independent takes a look below.

Gideon Falter is the chief executive of the Campaign Against Antisemitism
Gideon Falter is the chief executive of the Campaign Against Antisemitism (Sky News)

Who is Gideon Falter?

Mr Falter is the chief executive of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, an organisation founded in 2014 committed to exposing antisemitism through education and “zero-tolerance enforcement of the law”.

On LinkedIn, he described himself as a “media, litigation, public policy and business strategist”. He studied law at the University of Warwick between 2001 and 2005.

He has worked in his current role for the organisation since May 2019. Before that, he worked as chairman from its foundation in 2014.

He has spoken at the House of Commons and given evidence to parliamentary select committees, according to the CAA’s website.

He is also vice chairman of JNF UK, a charity that raises money in support of impoverished parts of Israel, especially in the south of the country.

What are his views?

Mr Falter has described pro-Palestine marches in London as showing “bare-faced Jew hatred”. In Facebook post, he said: “London is lawless. Antisemitism is accepted. Terrorism is openly glorified.”

He quoted a Holocaust survivor who said: “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference” and claimed Met Police commissioner Mark Rowley was “filled with it”.

He has also organised March against Antisemitism demonstrations throughout London - which aim to highlight the increase in antisemitic incidents in the UK since Hamas’s attack on Israel on 7 October.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism chief executive was threatened with arrest (Campaign Against Antisemitism/PA)
The Campaign Against Antisemitism chief executive was threatened with arrest (Campaign Against Antisemitism/PA) (PA Media)

What is the Campaign Against Antisemitism?

A grassroots campaign, the CAA grew largely out of social media activity among those who felt more should be done to promote the Jewish community’s concerns.

On its website, the charity describes itself as a “volunteer-led charity dedicated to exposing and countering antisemitism through education and zero-tolerance enforcement of the law.” It does this through litigation, investigations, and education, according to its website.

In January 2015, the then-UK Home Secretary, Theresa May, praised CAA for its work and undertook to ensure that the law against antisemitism was “robustly enforced”.

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