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_ Charity chief who was threatened with arrest for being 'openly Jewish' at Gaza march says he has still not been offered a meeting with Sir Mark Rowley as Met commissioner faces calls to quit over protest vid

_ Charity chief who was threatened with arrest for being 'openly Jewish' at Gaza march says he has still not been offered a meeting with Sir Mark Rowley as Met commissioner faces calls to quit over protest vid

The charity chief who was threatened with arrest for being 'openly Jewish' at a Gaza march has said he still hasn't been offered a meeting with Sir Mark Rowley.

Gideon Falter, the chief executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism, today slammed the force's response to the incident as 'shambolic'.

The Met commissioner is facing calls to quit over the video of a police officer telling Mr Falter that him being 'openly Jewish' was a provocation to pro-Palestinian demonstrators. 

Despite this, Mr Falter says he hasn't been offered a meeting with Sir Mark - only the assistant commissioner. 

It comes after Rishi Sunak today insisted he has confidence in the Met chief - as Mr Falter said he had 'failed abjectly'. 

Mr Sunak said he continued to back the Met commissioner 'on the basis that he works to rebuild the confidence and trust' of British Jews and the wider public.

Sir Mark has come under fire after a video emerged of a police officer telling Mr Falter that him being 'openly Jewish' was a provocation to pro-Palestinian demonstrators. 

Mr Falter today spoke out to clarify he has not been offered a meeting with Sir Mark.

He said: 'It is by now clear to everyone that the Met's policing policy at these weekly anti-Israel marches represents the inverse of how policing should work. 

'Police should be protecting those believed to be under threat, not threatening them with arrest to appease suspected violent racists.

'Since the incident, the Met has issued and withdrawn a series of statements, some apologetic and some belligerent. There have also been suggestions in the media that the Commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, has offered to meet with me.

'No such meeting has been offered, and any suggestion otherwise, if they came from the police, could have been a ploy by the Met, which is scrambling to save the Commissioner's job.'

He added that the Met's response has been 'shambolic' as he called for the commissioner to step down.

Sir Mark has been called in for a crisis meeting today with London Mayor Sadiq Khan. He will also meet with Home Secretary James Cleverly this week, where Britain's most senior police officer will be asked to account for the incident. 

Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist has offered to meet Mr Falter to apologise to him personally, it was announced last night.

Mr Falter said he accepted the assistant commissioner's apology for the original Met statement, and added he had spoken to the chairman of the Met Police Federation to discuss the need for a change of leadership at Scotland Yard.

He continued: 'Instead of meetings to try to contain the damage, it is extremely telling that the Met does not appear to have even started investigating the potential crimes that were committed by some of the protesters who surrounded me and which were caught on camera. The Met has certainly not been in touch with me about those.

'Some individuals have also been wheeled out to suggest that I provoked the crowd, or that there is somehow more to the story than it appears from the footage. A former Chief Superintendent has even outrageously suggested that I assaulted a police officer and should have been arrested. This has now gone far beyond victim blaming.

'These tactics are desperate, but they reveal the Met's priorities. Therefore, at this point, it is not clear what any meetings with the Commissioner, who has the distinction of presiding over the worst surge in antisemitic hate crime on record, will achieve. It is time to hold him to account. 

'The fault for this policing policy, which we have seen play out for half a year now on our streets, does not lie with frontline officers, including those with whom I interacted who have been put in an impossible position by the leadership.'

He went on to say that the fault 'lies squarely with Sir Mark', adding 'it is time for him to go, and if he does not resign, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the Home Secretary, James Cleverly, should remove him from his post'.

Speaking about the incident today on Good Morning Britain, Mr Falter said: 'I think he needs to resign. The change the Met needs has to come from the top. He's had six months to get a grip of this and he's failed.'

The Prime Minister told a Downing Street press conference today: 'I share the shock and the anger that many are feeling when they saw the clips over the weekend.

'And you know what I would say about Mark Rowley and the police, they do have a difficult job, of course I appreciate that. But what happened was clearly wrong. And it's right that they've apologised for that.

'And yes, I do have confidence in him, but that's on the basis that he works to rebuild the confidence and trust of not just the Jewish community, but the wider public, particularly people in London but more broadly.

'And you regain that trust and that confidence by making it clear that the police are not tolerating behaviour that we would all collectively deem unacceptable when we see it because it undermines our values. And I think that is critical. And I know the Home Secretary will be meeting the commissioner later today.' 

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was left 'appalled' after watching the footage, according to a Government source. Mr Falter had just been to synagogue and was wearing a skullcap and had a bag bearing the Star of David. 

Appearing on GMB today, Mr Falter was asked about new footage which showed the policeman accusing him of being 'disingenuous' and seeking to antagonise the Pro-Palestine marchers

But he insisted: 'I was just being Jewish. I was trying to walk around on the street, I was trying to cross the road.

'This officer's comment about being disingenuous comes after he realises that he has seriously messed up by saying ''by being openly Jewish you are provoking people, you are antagonising people and I'm going to arrest you if you stay here''.

'So once people had whipped out smartphones he starts saying I was disingenuous. There aren't many ways to cross a road, you just cross a road. And the entire idea I was trying to provoke something – how?

'I wasn't wearing a badge, I didn't have a sign, I wasn't waving a flag or shouting a slogan. I was just walking around with my kippah on after synagogue and had a small bag which you have a prayer shawl in which has a small Star of David on.

'It was a Saturday in London and people were crossing every which-way. Because I was Jewish I couldn't.'

Mr Falter said frontline police had been placed in an 'impossible situation'.

'You've got up to 100,000 protesters and a much smaller number of police trying to deal with it - they are outnumbered and they probably are intimidated,' he said. 

'For me it's not about these frontline officers. It's about the decisions that have been made for six months now by Sir Mark Rowley who has failed abjectly to stand up for Jewish Londoners.

'He's curtailed our rights to walk around the street in favour of letting these huge groups of protesters do what they want.'

Mr Falter said he was called 'Nazi', 'scum' and 'disgusting' by pro-Palestine marchers. 

'It's been a week now since that happened. Where are the investigations into these people?'

Asked if he would go back to the protest next Saturday, he said: 'Yes, after what happened I think it's very important Jews feel able to walk on the streets. 

'We're going to walk along the route and force the police that these things are safe for Jewish people.

'We've been gas lit for months by the Met. They keep saying these things are safe and brilliantly policed. The reality is they've so badly policed that if you're a Jew on the sidelines they have to threaten you with arrest to get rid of you.'

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden said the Met had shown 'disrespect' to the Jewish community, while Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho declined to call for the Met chief to resign - saying it was a matter for Mayor of London

The force issued a statement apologising for the incident, but was forced to apologise for its apology after suggesting opponents of pro-Palestinian marches 'must know that their presence is provocative'.

Although the commissioner has retained the confidence of the mayor and the Government, concerns have been raised about the Met's approach to the now-routine protests in the capital and its impact on relations with the Jewish community.

Sir Mark will meet Mr Khan today to discuss 'community relations' and is expected to speak to representatives of organisations including the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the London Jewish Forum and the Community Safety Trust.

He will also meet Mr Cleverly in the coming days.

Both Mr Falter and former home secretary Suella Braverman have called for Sir Mark to resign, saying he has 'emboldened' antisemites by failing to curtail the marches.

Ms Braverman told GMB: 'I think Sir Mark should go. The Home Secretary and the Prime Minister need to show leadership and I don't think it's sustainable for him to continue.' 

The mayor and the Home Secretary have the power to dismiss the commissioner, but sources from both the Government and the mayoralty have said his job is not under threat.

But former Met Police Chief Superintendent Dal Babu said he had watched the full footage and felt the narrative being 'pushed' by Mr Falter was 'not accurate'.

'You see him attempting to go against the march and go against the officers,' he told BBC Breakfast. 

'For 13 minutes the officers show great restraint and offer him to take him to a crossing point. 

'So the narrative that has been pushed is not accurate. If I was policing the march I would have been tempted to arrest him for assaulting a police officer.'

Government sources have sought to put pressure on Mr Khan, saying it is up to the mayor to hold Sir Mark to account.

A spokesman for Mr Khan said the Met 'must have the confidence of the communities they serve and it is right that they have apologised for the way the incident was handled and their original public response'.

Sir Mark himself has reiterated the force's apology and acknowledged that some officers' actions had increased 'concerns'.

Ahead of a meeting with Sir Mark this week, Marie van der Zyl, the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said she is not yet calling for the Commissioner's resignation, but some serious incidents are causing the Jewish community to have a 'complete loss of confidence in the police'.

She told Times Radio: 'Historically, the Jewish community has always had a very good relationship with the police and I think it's really important that we do so going forward.

'And the responsible thing to do is to put our concerns, and they have been widely, widely publicised. And it's up to the police now to be able to tell us what they're going to be able to do.

'And if the police feel that they need more legislation, then that's also a matter for the Government and the Home Secretary.'


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