Pharmacist's comment blaming “Tory Zionists” for Grenfell may be antisemitic, High Court rules

Comments made by Nazim Ali, managing partner of Chelsea Pharmacy, were initially found to be not antisemitic but this decision has now been overturned


An eminent pharmacist who blamed “Tory Zionists” for the Grenfell Tower tragedy may have been voicing antisemitism, a High Court judge has found. 

Nazim Ali, who is managing partner of Chelsea Pharmacy, was investigated by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) last year over comments made in 2017 during the annual Al Quds Day rally. 

He referred to “European alleged Jews” and said that “any Jew coming into your centre who is a member for the Board of Deputies, is not a Rabbi, he's an imposter.”

Mr Ali also blamed “Zionist supporters of the Tory party” for the “murder of the people in Grenfell.”

A GPhC committee ruled in December that a suspension would be “inappropriate” and gave the pharmacist an official warning. 

It found the comments “utterly appalling”, “grossly offensive and particularly aggravating” but not antisemitic.

But an independent body which oversees industry regulators in the UK later appealed against the decision, after requests from the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA). 

Mr Ali resisted the appeal, arguing that the GPhC was entitled to take account of his intent when assessing the meaning of his words, according to a court judgement. 

He also claimed that “even if the words had been antisemitic, the sanction that was imposed was appropriate in all the circumstances,” according to the judgement.

But Mr Justice Johnson at the High Court found that GPhC had erred in its approach and the case will be sent back to the regulator. 

“It is vitally important that all sections of the community are able to place trust and confidence in pharmacists,” he said.

“As Ms Morris QC observed, that is vividly illustrated by the current pandemic, and the need that all communities are able to have confidence in advice given by pharmacists and other professionals about the risks and benefits of vaccination.”

The CAA welcomed the decision. 

“The road to justice in this case has proved long and winding, but we are again heading in the right direction,” said Stephen Silverman, director of investigations and enforcement. 

“We said that we would not allow this injustice to stand and we are delighted by this new judgement. Campaign Against Antisemitism will always be unrelenting in pursuit of justice.”

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