Last week in a court in Brighton England seven people who were charged with breaking into a factory and destroying property worth approximately 275,000 dollars (180,000 pounds) were found not guilty on all charges even though they all admitted to committing the crimes. Their defense? The defendants said the factory deserved to be attacked because it belonged to an arms manufacturer that did business with the Israeli Defense Force and that they wanted to prevent Israel from carrying out war crimes in Gaza. Leaving out the question of whether war crimes were ever committed in the first place the jury acquitted them on that basis.
This means that British citizens who have dealings with Israel or an affinity for the country and speak out in it’s favor can no longer depend on the law to offer protection from criminal acts committed against them related to their activities, even if whatever they are doing is entirely legal and above board. Antipathy towards Israel, or conversely pro-Palestinian sentiment, is now a valid defense in court…the acquittals in Brighton have effectively given people a green light to commit all manners of crimes against their fellow citizens simply because of their support for Israel or because they are somehow involved with Israeli actions towards Palestinians which they deem unacceptable, no matter how peripherally. Using the decision in Brighton as a precedent, if they can justify their behavior with an anti-Israel animus or pro-Palestinian rationale they basically have carte blanche to do whatever they want, regardless of the suffering or destruction caused.
The decision is more than a travesty of justice which allows for the victimization of large numbers of people and enhances Britain’s reputation as a racist, anti-Semitic nation. It is an open invitation to attack anyone or anything that is seen as pro-Israeli or anti-Palestinian because there will be no consequences. It panders to the lowest elements in society and guarantees that there will be a dramatic increase in property destruction and violence, especially against Jews. It also violates and overrides hundreds of years of legal tradition and is an insult to Britain’s system of justice. We can only hope that it will be overturned soon before it causes much more damage.