LONDON (Aug. 21)
A London constable who converted to Judaism has brought a complaint against the Metropolitan Police alleging he was a victim of abuse by fellow officers. The case will serve as a test case to determine whether a convert to Judaism is protected by laws against racial discrimination.
Paul Thomas alleges that he has been the victim of abuse by fellow police, and that anti-Semitism has blocked his promotion.
But according to legal advisers for the constable — the British term for police officer — the Metropolitan Police is arguing that as a convert, Thomas is not Jewish by ethnic origin and therefore not covered by existing legislation.
A preliminary hearing scheduled for Aug. 30 will consider whether Thomas is legally entitled to lodge a claim of racial discrimination.
"We’re saying that by converting, he can now claim he is part of that ethnic group," commented Sian Hughes, principal legal officer at the Commission for Racial Equality, which is supporting Thomas’ case.
Thomas, 38, converted to Judaism in Israel in 1978 after working on a kibbutz.
He returned to England with his Israeli wife, Dina, in 1980 and joined the Metropolitan Police.
In 1983, the couple returned to Israel but came back a year, and Thomas rejoined the Metropolitan Police.
Two years ago, he received an award for his record of arrests and his training of new recruits.
Dina Thomas alleged that her husband — who has been on sick leave since February — has been called "Yid," "Moses" and "Hymie" by other police, and that anti-Semitism has blocked his promotion to sergeant.