A teenager has admitted to shouting “I f***ing hate the Jews” at a Jewish man inside Oxford Circus Underground station.
The seventeen-year-old admitted to the charge of a religiously aggravated public order offence after the Jewish man was targeted with antisemitic abuse inside Oxford Circus Underground station on 4th July. It was reported that the teenager handed himself in to the police on 11th July and on 23rd July, he was charged with the offence.
Prosecutor Valerie Benjamin told Highbury Corner Youth Court on Monday that the victim had been wearing “distinctive Jewish attire”, and that “the defendant said ‘I f****** hate Jews’ while banging on the side of the escalator.” Ms Benjamin added that the victim was now too anxious to use public transport and was incurring significant costs due to having to take taxis instead.
It was also alleged that the defendant yelled “take off your hat”, although the teenager has denied this claim.
The defendant allegedly said during his police interview that he yelled the abuse as he thought “it might have been funny at the time”, but that he now knows that “it was stupid and offensive.”
Mohammed Zeb, defending, told the court that the defendant had “done the right thing” by handing himself in, but acknowledged that he “made a stupid comment for no reason”. Mr Zeb added: “He told me ‘I’ve got no problem with anybody, I’m not into religion, it was spur of the moment’.”
The defendant told District Judge Susan Williams: “I didn’t really think through [the comment], it just came out, and I just left and ran.” He added that he understands that the victim must have been frightened. “Especially as he was by himself – I think I would have been scared as well,” the defendant said.
Judge Williams told the teenager: “There is nothing wrong with a bit of friendly rivalry but we have fought a world war about this sort of racial discrimination, dreadful things were done and this sort of thing leaves scars on people’s memories. You don’t know if [the victim] lost a grandfather or a father or half his family in a concentration camp because of who he is.”
The judge continued: “That is the kind of memories that you are stirring up when you attack him about who he is…you give the beautiful game a bad name.”
It was also said that the teenager has previous convictions for theft and driving offences.
“You have got to take a serious decision about which way you are going in life – do you mind your manners, mind your mouth and mind the way you drive?”, the judge added. “Either cut [drinking] down or cut it out, or you are going to find yourself in serious trouble.”
The defendant is due to be sentenced on 3rd September. It has been reported that he has been granted bail on the condition that he does not “attend or loiter outside Wembley Stadium regardless of the event taking place inside”, in addition to any stadium where either Millwall or England are playing.
In a statement after the incident on 4th July, British Transport Police said: “We’re aware of a video posted online of…antisemitic behaviour on a London Underground escalator. We take such incidents very seriously and are investigating. If anybody has any information contact us on 0800 405040 or text 61016 quoting ref 90 of 4 July 2021.”
Immediately following the incident, Campaign Against Antisemitism released a statement thanking the victim’s brother for publicising the incident. The statement added: “We will be following up privately, but for those reading the thread [on Twitter] we wanted to note that police investigations have now been opened and we are in touch with police and Transport for London. #ZeroTolerance”
Earlier on in the night of the committed offence, the same Jewish man reported a separate incident of antisemitic abuse, in which an aggressive passenger can be heard threatening him and saying: “I’ve got a shank, I will slit your throat for Palestine” and “I’ll beat the s**t out of you.”
The passenger was then ordered off the bus, where he proceeded to swear at the Jewish man and bang on the doors of the bus.
Campaign Against Antisemitism recently launched an appeal for information about the suspect in the earlier incident.
Campaign Against Antisemitism recently met with Transport for London as part of work to improve the response to antisemitic incidents on public transport.
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s analysis of Home Office statistics shows that an average of over three hate crimes are directed at Jews every single day in England and Wales, with Jews almost four times more likely to be targets of hate crimes than any other faith group.