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London police: Officer unaware he had ‘boycott Israeli apartheid’ sticker

“The officer should certainly have been aware of the sticker being placed on him and removed it immediately,” Gary Mond, chair of the National Jewish Assembly, told JNS.

Metropolitan police officers in London. Credit: Watcharisma/Shutterstock.
Metropolitan police officers in London. Credit: Watcharisma/Shutterstock.

London’s Metropolitan Police says an officer photographed on Saturday wearing a “boycott Israeli apartheid” sticker on his arm was unaware that someone had placed it there during an anti-Israel march in central London.

“A member of the public witnessed this and quickly removed it,” wrote Matt Ward, deputy assistant commissioner of the police. “The officer is shaken by the online commentary overnight, and we are supporting him.”

“I am always disappointed when officers undertaking their public duties are subject to such disrespectful behavior, both in person and online,” Ward added.

Campaign Against Antisemitism initially posted a clear photo of the officer. “During today’s anti-Israel march, a Metropolitan Police officer stood with a ‘boycott Israeli apartheid’ sticker on his arm,” it wrote, in a since-deleted post. “The sight of a police officer wearing this sticker can only diminish the Jewish community’s already low confidence in the Met. We will be writing to the Met asking that this is investigated.”

After the police clarified that the officer was unaware of the sticker, the nonprofit posted a new comment, this time with a photo of the officer with his face blurred. “Contempt for the police amongst anti-Israel marchers has reached the point where slogans are being slapped on unwitting police officers,” it stated.

“During yesterday’s anti-Israel march, a Metropolitan Police officer stood with a ‘boycott Israeli apartheid’ sticker on his arm,” it added. “We asked the Met to investigate and they have confirmed that the sticker was placed on the officer by one of the marchers without the officer noticing.”

After the police’s apology, Gary Mond, chairman of the National Jewish Assembly, told JNS that he was skeptical. “It is important to appreciate that events like this undermine the trust and confidence of the U.K. Jewish community in the police,” he said. “The officer should certainly have been aware of the sticker being placed on him and removed it immediately.”

Jake Wallis Simons, editor of the London Jewish Chronicle, wrote that “Public concerns about police impartiality, as well as a lack of interest in correcting it, are hardly without foundation.” He shared a post from the Metropolitan Police in response to a photograph in November of two officers posing with a child holding a Palestinian flag.

“We always encourage our officers to be engaging and friendly with the public,” the Metropolitan Police wrote. “However, in the context of a protest about such a contentious issue, we acknowledge that it was not advisable for the officer to agree to pose for the photograph.”

It added that there would be no action taken against the officer “who we have no reason to think was doing anything other than trying to positively engage.”

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