This site is intended for Healthcare Professionals only

Pharmacist given warning as GPhC reverses decision in antisemitism case


Pharmacist given warning as GPhC reverses decision in antisemitism case

A London pharmacist who claimed that “Zionist supporters of the Tory party” were “responsible for the murder of the people in Grenfell” was broadcasting antisemitic tropes, the GPhC’s fitness to practise committee has ruled in a reversal of its previous decision.

In an initial 2020 hearing, the FtP committee ruled that a series of remarks made by Nazim Hussain Ali using a megaphone to a crowd gathered at a pro-Palestine rally in central London in 2017, were “grossly offensive” but not antisemitic.

However, this decision was quashed by the High Court in June 2021 following an appeal by the Professional Standards Authority. The judge reviewing the case found evidence of a “serious procedural or other irregularity” in the FtP committee’s decision and ordered the GPhC to reopen the Ali case.

Reconsidering the case in a hearing held across August 29-31 this year, the FtP committee decided that a ‘reasonable person’ would consider the following two remarks made at the 2017 Al-Quds rally to be antisemitic:

  • “Any Zionist, any Jew coming into your centre supporting Israel, any Jew coming into your centre who is a Zionist. Any Jew coming into your centre who is a member for the Board of Deputies, is not a Rabbi, he’s an imposter.”
  • “They are responsible for the murder of the people in Grenfell. The Zionist supporters of the Tory Party.”

With regard to the first comment, the FtP committee found it “conveyed that there are certain categories of persons who are not proper representatives of Jewry”. 

With regard to the second, it said it “would be heard by the ‘reasonable person’ as an instance of the antisemitic trope of there being a world Jewish conspiracy and of the trope that Jews controlled the UK government or other societal institutions”.

The FtP committee did not reverse its decision on two other remarks made by Mr Ali, namely: “It’s in their genes. The Zionists are here to occupy Regent Street. It’s in their genes, it’s in their genetic code”; and “European alleged Jews. Remember brothers and sisters, Zionists are not Jews.” The committee did not consider that allegations of antisemitism had been proven with regard to these two comments.

Warning issued

The committee found that the nature of Mr Ali’s remarks “amounted to serious misconduct” and that he had breached a fundamental principle of his profession, namely that pharmacists should demonstrate appropriate behaviour at all times.

The repeat hearing this August concluded with Mr Ali being issued a formal warning, but no further conditions against his licence – the same outcome as in the initial 2020 FtP hearing. Having weighed factors including the unpremeditated nature of his remarks, the committee concluded that a suspension order would not be proportionate. 

The warning reads: “The registrant, for all the reasons set out in the Committee’s decision, is hereby given a Warning that his future behaviour and comments that he makes must at all times avoid undermining the reputation of the profession, or the reputation of the regulator and must uphold the required standards of the pharmacy profession.

“He is reminded in particular that ‘behaving professionally is not limited to the working day, or face to face interactions. The privilege of being a pharmacist and the importance of maintaining confidence in the profession calls for appropriate behaviour at all time.”

Commenting on the outcome of the hearing, Stephen Silverman of Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAS) said: “Today’s ruling marks the culmination of more than six years of work by CAS to secure justice against the leader of the infamous 2017 pro-Hizbillah ‘Al Quds Day’ march. It has finally been ruled that Nazim Ali’s address to the crowd contained antisemitic invective, an obvious conclusion that has been resisted for years.

“Despite this admission at long last by the GPhC, Mr Ali has only been given a warning, a slap-on-the-wrist sanction that shows a disturbing lack of seriousness toward racist conduct as it pertains to Jews.”

Mr Silverman said CAS would be “meeting with the GPhC about its approach to antisemitic hate”.

Copy Link copy link button