Law­fare: the new bat­tle­ground

The Jewish Chronicle - - Front Page - BY MAR­CUS DYSCH

A BLOG­GER ques­tioned by po­lice on sus­pi­cion of ha­rass­ing anti-is­rael demon­stra­tors says he is a vic­tim of “law­fare” tac­tics em­ployed against sup­port­ers of Is­rael.

Richard Mil­lett at­tended a protest out­side the Wildlife Pho­tog­ra­pher of the Year ex­hi­bi­tion at the Nat­u­ral His­tory Mu­seum last De­cem­ber.

He filmed demon­stra­tors from the Pales­tine Sol­i­dar­ity Cam­paign who were en­cour­ag­ing vis­i­tors to the ex­hi­bi­tion to boy­cott the Ve­o­lia-spon­sored event. The multi­na­tional com­pany is a key tar­get for boy­cott ad­vo­cates be­cause of its work on the Jerusalem light rail project.

Mr Mil­lett wrote about the event on his blog and posted images and videos of the pro­test­ers. A month later, po­lice in­formed him he had been ac­cused of ha­rass­ing a pro­tester and out­lined their in­ten­tion to serve him with a warn­ing.

The UK Lawyers for Is­rael group ad­vised him not to ac­cept the let­ter and asked po­lice to re­view the case. Mr Mil­lett was later told the is­sue was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated on public or­der grounds and he was in­ter­viewed at a west London po­lice sta­tion in March.

Mr Mil­lett said: “I had to de­scribe to the po­lice how close I was when I filmed and pho­tographed them and what my in­ten­tion of film­ing them was.

“I couldn’t be­lieve I was even be­ing ques­tioned about this as my ac­tions were no dif­fer­ent from a cam­era­man or pho­tog­ra­pher for a main­stream news­pa­per cov­er­ing a po­lit­i­cal protest.”

Two PSC mem­bers made fur­ther al­le­ga­tions against him af­ter pro­vid­ing po­lice with short video clips of them­selves that Mr Mil­lett had posted on his blog.

Po­lice even­tu­ally con­tacted Mr Mil­lett last week to say there would be no fur­ther ac­tion.

“It was a re­lief… I knew I had done noth­ing wrong but you can never re­lax un­til you hear it from the po­lice them­selves,” he said.

It is un­der­stood that a sec­ond proIs­rael ac­tivist was also ac­cused of ha­rass­ment fol­low­ing the same protest and in­ter­viewed by po­lice at his home. Again, no fur­ther ac­tion was taken.

A spokesman for UKLI said: ”When some­one makes a com­plaint, the po­lice have a statu­tory duty to in­ves­ti­gate it. Richard broke no law and the po­lice took a com­mon­sense ap­proach and re­alised the case was non­sense, but he has had this hang­ing over him for months.

“The PSC was us­ing the po­lice to get at pro-is­rael ac­tivists. They sex-up al­le­ga­tions, which have no grounds and will stop at noth­ing to see peo­ple like Richard end up in court.

“It takes things to a new level and it has a chill­ing ef­fect on sup­port­ers of Is­rael.”

Caption

PSC pro­tester out­side Wildlife Pho­tog­ra­pher of the Year ex­hi­bi­tion

PHOTO: DEMOTIX

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