General Antisemitism

UK: Judge Takes Delegitimisation of Israel to New Depths

This is a guest post by Jonathan Hoffman 

Q: Suppose there are seven people in England who break into a factory and cause £180,000 ($275,000) of damage. They admit their crime of criminal damage. What would be their sentence?

A: It depends. Usually they would be sentenced to up to 5 years in prison. But if the factory is making goods that help Israel to defend its citizens, the seven walk free.

Melanie Phillips’ new (critically-acclaimed) book is calledThe World Turned Upside-Down”. As if to prove her point, seven self-confessed criminals walked free this week from a Court in Hove, England – and the local MP praised the decision! The seven broke into the EDO MBM armaments factory in January 2009 at the time of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. The factory was exporting military equipment to Israel. After being effectively directed to acquit them by the Judge, George Bathurst-Norman, the Jury duly obliged, accepting their defence that although they had committed a crime, they were doing so in order to prevent the greater offence of Israeli “war crimes”. In his summing-up, Bathurst-Norman made no bones about his ill-informed political prejudices, saying (according to The Guardian) “You may well think that hell on earth would not be an understatement of what the Gazans suffered in that time.”

The local MP (Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion) weighed in to support the defendants: ‘The judge highlighted the testimony by Lucas that “all democratic paths had been exhausted” before the activists embarked on their action.’

Yesterday the ridiculous Lucas said she was “absolutely delighted” that the activists had been cleared. She is well on the way to assuming the mantle of resident “Westminster Loony” from George Galloway who was defeated in May’s election. Because  Lucas has history as some of you will know. She blamed Israel for the Mumbai massacre. and she and her Green Party want an antisemitic boycott of Israeli goods

And it turns out that Bathurst-Norman also has history. As Yisroel Medad points out, he was born in Yaffo.

Could this be a case of “Judge with a grudge”?

And why was Bathchair-Nobrain “brought out of retirement” to try this case?

And what was the role of Brighton Palestine Solidarity Campaign and resident Trotskyite anti-Zionist Tony Greenstein? (of whom Oliver Kamm said “he’s a fantastic ignoramus”).

The decision takes delegitimisation of Israel in the UK to new levels. Not only can you freely trash Israeli goods in a supermarket, practice antisemitism at a British University and get an arrest warrant for an Israeli visiting the UK, you can now break into a factory making exports to Israel and lay waste to the production machinery.

Many people disagree profoundly with Caroline Lucas’ racist demonisation of Israel. Presumably they now have carte-blanche to smash up her house and her property.

Truly this is “A World Turned Upside Down” ……..

Others who have blogged on this appalling miscarriage of justice include Melanie herself, Robin Shepherd and Richard Millett.

PS Please complain about this Judge

POSTSCRIPT According to this week’s JC, the Judge in his summing-up said of one of the defendants (Christopher Osmond):

The jury may feel his efforts investigating the company merit the George Cross.

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79 replies »

  1. The rule of law in the UK is rapidly crumbling.

    Choose the judge and jury (why not?) to fit the crime and we can get away with anything.
    Don’t use your new mobile phone in public or the snatcher can be got off by saying that you look Jewish, that he needed to phone his dealer or that he was preventing a display of wealth, according to the judges available to fit the case.

  2. On Melanie’s blog there is this comment from D. Roberts:

    “I am a retired Police Officer, having served in both uniform and CID in South Wales and the Metropolitan Police.

    As far as I can see ‘act and section’ those responsible clearly committed the offences, which is clearly why they were charged and taken to court.

    In my eyes the defence offered by the defence and accepted by the Judge is totally unacceptable and is beyond anything that I have personally experienced in all my service.

    This amounts to an anarchists’ charter and a warrant for genocide.

    It also gives licence to anyone with a grievance on behalf of Islam/Iraq/Afghanistan to take similar action against supplies destined for our own armed forces.

    I feel nothing but shame for the British legal system and the courts that I once served.”


  3. This circumvention of British law (it is not illegal to manufacture goods to be exported to Israel) by a British court should be deeply worrying to every British citizen. Its implications go far beyond the specific issue of Israel because it sets a precedent which makes a mockery of the principle that everyone is equal under the eyes of the law as well as sending a message that a victim of a crime, despite acting within the law, cannot be assured of protection from the legal system.
    What next? Is it OK to burn down a factory manufacturing cigarettes because they are bad for people’s health? To murder a car manufacturer because his product harms the environment?
    This is the beginning of a very slippery slope indeed and in this issue too, Israel is the canary in the mine.

  4. IN

    Yes it is appalling. It leaves all sorts of questions – will companies exporting to Israel be able to insure their assets, for example?

    The prosecution must go to the Court of Appeal for a view on this miscarriage of justice.

  5. As I said on Melanie’s blog – this is an early warning death rattle for British society.

    A similar atmosphere prevailed in Weimar Germany where right-wing thugs and agitators were given lenient sentences, and others, trade unionists, left-wingers, etc., were penalised harshly by the judiciary.

    How far do the Brits want to take it in revealing their inner Judenhass?

  6. There should be an age-limit on anyone whose practice is likely to affect the livelihoods or freedoms of others. This is the case for this judge, although I don’t know how old he is.

    I don’t know either whether law practitioners have to engage in yearly continued professional development, as is the case for medical doctors and other mental health care professionals, so as to be certified as being fit to practice.

    This man obviously is not, since he could not keep his own opinions out of the judgement and, as a result, may have set a precedent for the condoning of other such acts of violence and vandalism, including against mosques and madrassas which preach hatred, in which the perpetrators should expect to get off scot free, unless this shameful verdict is overturned on appeal.

    Jonathan, I accessed the address you gave above in order to make a formal complaint about Bathurst-Norman but it asks for a great deal of specific information which I don’t have. Do you have this information, such as the name of the court/tribunal; the case number; etc etc? If so, could you publish them here for anyone who wants to make formal complaint? Thanks.

  7. @Mitnaged

    I don’t have those details. Just go with what there is, they will be able to find the case. NB it was tried in Hove not Brighton I think.

    The Judge with a Grudge was born on 15 January 1939 which makes him 71. I’m not sure his age is relevant. I would think he was just as much of a bigot where Israel is concerned 20 years ago.

  8. Is there any reason to believe that ‘the prosecution’ will not go to the Court of Appeal to try to reverse this miscarriage of justice?

  9. Thanks Jonathan. I can see why that would be the case, but what checks and balances are there against lunatic decisions like this one which, as I have said, are likely to be used as precedents for other direction action by any numbskull with a grudge?

    The UK really is circling the drain.

    Can one recourse be for the company to bring a civil action against those concerned? That’d be costly, but it would send the right message.

  10. I am happy to complain but feel stronger action is needed. Is there nothing we could sabotage to bring attention to this miscarriage of justice? Logically, we should get off scot free.

  11. Can I suggest that those that wish to complain e-mail or write to the Head of the Judiciary who is The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Right Honourable Kenneth Clarke Q.C., M.P.

    As he is also, and mainly, a politician I’m sure he is more likely to respond to enough pressure.

  12. Gerald, I tried to email the address given but it got bounced back, so I wrote to the address on the page that Jonathan gave and marked it for the personal attention of the Lord Chancellor.

    Has anyone else thought of this:

    I have been pondering most of all why a retired old fart, which has obvious biases, should have been wheeled out of retirement to hear this case (people who write to Kenneth Clarke should ask him how many other cases said old fart has heard since he retired, which is important information).

    We in the UK have been hearing for some time that the jury system should be phased out. This jury simply did as it was told (and its members must have been either biased or stupid or both) but what if this case could be pointed at as a prime example of why juries should be dispensed with? Would Bathchair have been able to rule as he did if he were with two other judges (assuming, of course, that those judges weren’t senile or biased either)?

  13. I have spoken to a barrister. if enough people complain then the Judge With A Grudge will be censured by the Executive. But the UK Constitution does not have ‘checks and balances’ on the judiciary. They are independent.

    I do not think a civil action would be possible, because of ‘double jeopardy’ – you can’t be tried for the same crime twice.

    The only things that can happen are a censure by Ken Clarke and/or an opinion from the Court of Appeal, but the prosecution has to ask for that – we can’t.


    As regards the law to which Bathchair appealed (“lawful excuse”), Joshua Rozenberg comments:

    “Section 5(2)(b) of the Criminal Damage Act 1971 defines “lawful excuse” to include protecting property. This is clearly designed for the sort of case where a fire-fighter breaks into a building to put out a fire.”

  15. I do not think a civil action would be possible, because of ‘double jeopardy’ – you can’t be tried for the same crime twice.”

    Too bad the trial were not in the USA. Wisely or unwisely, the Americans allow quadruple jeopardy:
    1. in a state criminal action
    2. in a Federal, criminal civil rights action
    3. in a state civil action
    4. in a “civil forfeiture” action

  16. I believe there is something more sinister at foot here. These protestors have been targetting this factory for some time.
    See for example;
    Obviously believing that to claim that they were trying to destroy the factory to prevent arms being sent to British troops in Iraq and Afghanistan would not be approved by an English Jury it would appear that they therefore cooked up a story that they were trying to get arms stopped to Israel. I would be interested to know if their previous attempts to target the EDO factory before Caste Lead were brought to the jury’s attention in the case.
    Their actions would have had no effect on Israel’s justifiable and legal efforts by force of arms to prevent the terrorist entity in Gaza from firing rockets into Israeli cities. As such they have succeeded in carrying out criminal damage to EDO which has been their aim all along without fear of punishment and in the process have used Israel as a scapegoat.
    Questions have to be asked. Who was responsible for appointing a judge who obviously should have recused himself given the prejudicial nature of the terms his direction to the jury? What connection does that person have with the defendants and/or with pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel organisations? What we have here is a classic anti-Semitic plot.

  17. Thanks Nachman

    To save me time – does anyone know how I can get a transcript of the Judgment and how much it costs?

    And is it possible to get a transcript of the entire case?

  18. Serendipity if you give the Ministry of Justice a ring next week they will give you the corrrect e-mail address for Ken Clarke as Lord Chancellor, it’s usually the name of the Minister@whichever ministry, but check first. Yes in the past I have not had any problem in getting Ministers e-maill addresses at their Departments this way. The postal address and phone/fax numbers are;
    Ministry of Justice
    102 Petty France
    SW1H 9AJ
    United Kingdom

    Telephone: +44 (0)20 3334 3555
    Fax: +44 (0)20 3334 4455


    Look at this, it is dynamite:

    “Judge George Bathurst-Norman raised eyebrows in the Anglo-Jewish community in 2001, when he blamed the collapse of a fraud trial he was hearing on the plaintiffs, the United Synagogue organisation, which he claimed had been “so casual as to offend the very name of justice”. The United Synagogue’s president expressed “incredulity, a burning sense of injustice” at the judge’s remarks, adding “It is extraordinary that the victim in this case can be made to appear the villain.”

    Looks more and more like we are dealing with a certain type of unsavoury person here …

  20. I read he retired in 2004; odd how he was suddenly disinterred.
    I suppose his pater was a British Mandate official, dontcha know.

  21. Israel take careful note: the world is getting ready to make you pay for your crimes.

    Good luck….. you’ll need it.

  22. Dear [MP]

    There are signs that this Judge has a malevolent agenda against Jews and Israel. His direction to the Jury at Hove Court was outrageous. Reportedly he was brought out of retirement to judge this case – why?

    He has clearly abused the “lawful excuse” provision. Section 5(2)(b) of the Criminal Damage Act 1971 defines “lawful excuse” to include protecting property. This is clearly designed for the sort of case where a fire-fighter breaks into a building to put out a fire.

    This case is extremely important for Jews in the UK. It seems to open the door for people to take the law into their own hands with impunity against any person or company associated with Israel.

    Please take this up with Justice Secretary Ken Clarke on my behalf. I would like to see this Judge censored and barred from sitting again.

  23. zippi

    Are you always prepared to see the law made a mockery of – or is it only where Israel is concerned?

  24. Lets see the EDL break into a Mosque or Respect HQ for “preventing terrorism and mass murder”.

    Will they also get off like this?

    Probably not.

    It is like the Nazi sign in Vienna. One rule for us, another for them.

    Sharia has arrived.

  25. Thanks, Gerald. Will do that.

    Armaros, of course they won’t although, unless this is overturned, it will have set a precedent.

    Jonathan, thanks for all the information

  26. sorry, pressed send before I had finished

    As I was saying, thanks for all the information about the Judge. It’s evident that he has an antisemitic animus as well as an anti-Israel one.

    He’ll overreach himself finally one day.

  27. Why all the surprise? After 1500 years of Islamic anti-Semitism that was added to 2000 years of Christian anti-Semitism we should be used to it by now.

    In a few short years Bathurst-Norman will be dead and forgotton, but the Jews and Israel will still be here – and that’s our underlying triumph.

  28. Nachman, you talk of sinister.

    One of the pillars of the UK legal system has been the right of the accused to a trial by a jury of his/her peers. Leaving aside the fact that this particular jury may themselves have been biased, thick or half-asleep, or over-awed by the power and authority of the Judge Bathurst-Norman [(hereinafter referred to as the DOF (daft old fart)] who summed up the evidence, by and large the jury system works and I would not want it changed.

    However, there has been increasing pressure to remove the right to a trial by a jury, see .

    My theory: Imagine if our outrage was replicated and mutated to imply that the jury, rather than said DOF, was incompetent (in theory, of course, the jury was – it could have ignored the DOF’s recommendations) and that, consequently, juries should be dispensed with in general.

    What if the DOF was brought out of retirement to conduct what was meant to be a stitch-up and the jury were his dupes to further that agenda?

  29. zippi gazel

    “Good luck…you will need it”.

    zippit it the likes of you that need and rely on luck.

    We rely on our brainpower,ability, initiative,all these we have in abundance.

    We have the ability and the means to meet situations effectively.

    You STICK and rely on your luck.

  30. It is extraordinary that a few brave souls like you are rapidly becoming all that stands between the rue of law and the rule of the street in Britain.

    Britain increasingly resembles Germany the early 1930’s before Hitler seized power – the groundwork for Islamofascism is being laid, and the British Quislings like Galloway, helped by a gang of useful idiots, are laying the road to their own destruction. It is shocking, and one can only hope that the warnings issued in the media by people like you, Melanie Phillips, Dennis MacEoin and Robin Shepherd will have the right effect in time and save britain from its supine leadership.

  31. A barrister friend has advised how to get a transcript of the evidence, arguments and summing up – which are routinely recorded. I will be on the phone to the Court (Hove) tomorrow.

  32. I’ve just spent a couple of hours trawling through the online edition of “The Times” to see whether I could find out anything that makes GBN (there’s no hyphen, btw) tick – perhaps some incident during the Palestine Mandate involving his father, or some link to interests inimical to Israel. Unfortunately, the online issues stop at the end of 1985, so I found very little of relevance.
    I did find GBN’s birth notice – not in the common-or-garden Times birth notices but in the “Court Circular” (Times, 17 Jan. 1939) amid the comings and goings of the Upper Crust: “The Hon. Mrs. Charles Bathurst Norman gave birth to a son at Telaviv [sic], Palestine, on January 15.”
    I suspect that mother was en route to or from England/Kenya at the time, and there was no link to the Mandate administration.
    In 1937 GBN’s father is described as “of the Kenya Civil Service” and later on his (the pater’s) addresses were “Villa Villetri, Vallée de Vaux, Jersey and Forest Farm, Naro Maru, Kenya”. GBN’s honeymoon (1973) was spent in Kenya, by that time independent of course.
    Times (31 Dec. 1981): He fined a young (presumably unemployed and desperate) Polish miner seeking asylum in Britain £70 plus £40 costs for shoplifting a few articles of clothing. Inveighed GBN: “People in this country have a lot of sympathy for you in your country but if you come here and commit offences like this you will soon rid us of all feelings of sympathy.” A short report (10 June 1967) caught my eye, being headed “Arms Factory Charge”. But all it said was that GBN was defence counsel for two men from Cork sent by magistrates at Barking, Essex for trial at the Central Criminal Court on a charge of assault with intent to rob a factory manufacturing sub-machine guns.
    If I do uncover anything interesting I’ll let y’all know!

  33. benorr, very true.

    We heard on the radio this morning about the latest Israeli contribution to advances in health-related science and technology – a microchip which can be implanted in the chest and which sends tiny electrical signals to receiver microchips implanted in the brain.

    This is being trialled on war-injured/brain damaged British soldiers who may well be helped to regain motor ability after wounds which paralysed them or made them lose functionality.

    The report was very hopeful that it can be used afterwards to stimulate the brain to slow down the progression of Alzheimers and to help people recovering from stroke damage.

    The most important aspects of this – which should be noted by the likes of Zippit and would-be boycotters of all things Israeli – is that Israel is collaborating with the British and US forces in the trialling of this (ie she is, as ever, willing to share her technology with whoever needs it), and zippit et al should think deeply (ha ha – what a contradiction in terms for this knee-jerk reacting lot!) about how they might get access to such things should they need them, if Israeli goods and services and the academics who research into them were successfully boycotted.

  34. Jonathan, have just seen your post above.

    If it’s possible to publish that transcript, here or elsewhere, without breaking the law, please could you do so?

    Hawkeye, if that were possible, would you be prepared to publish it here?

  35. When I get the transcript I will go through it and do a post. It might be a bit long to publish in its entirety.

  36. Surely the O.J. Simpson precedent should give hope. The company should sue the defendants for the tort of malicious damage and demand actual and punitive damages.

  37. I don’t believe that a criminal acquittal prevents a civil action for damages (where, incidentally, the bar of proof is set much lower – balance of probability rather than beyond reasonable grounds). I hope the company sues the pants off these disgusting people.
    This ‘judge’ should be sent packing in disgrace. Ditto the revolting Lucas.

  38. On Melanie Phillips site a poster called Dale has in response to a post by me indicated that the Judge had before him details of all previous attempts during the previous six years by the “Smash EDO” hooligans to target the EDO factory in Hove. I have asked him to advise me how he is aware of these facts. If as he says the Judge was aware of these facts why did the Judge single out the situation in Gaza as giving these vandals legal justification for carrying out criminal damage – when it is obvious that they had been targetting the factory long before Caste Lead – as I said a classic anti-Semitic plot – blame the Jewish State. Further in order to use this defence whatever the defendant’s state of mind, the defendant’s act has to have been in order to protect his own property or right or interest, or that of anyone else. As a consequence of this decision any anti-war protestor may carry out such acts without fear of punishment. Any person carrying out the destruction of a factory producing a country’s arms being produced in the UK even if the war being prosecuted by that country is wholly lawful, (and I include in this Israel’s attack on Hamas in Gaza), may merely say in his defence that he genuinely believed that the arms produced were going to be used to cause damage to another’s property (as they surely were) – this shows how ludicrous the acceptance by the judge in this case of such a defence is.