Blogger emerges from anti-Israel ordeal
PSC protester outside Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition
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 pro-Israel 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."