Jewish lawyer in Scotland sanctioned for online argument with pro-Palestinian university lecturer


(JTA) — A Jewish lawyer in Scotland was fined and ordered to participate in diversity training following an online argument with a pro-Palestinian university lecturer.

Matthew Berlow, a Glasgow criminal defense lawyer, called Dr. Karolin Hijazi a “thin-skinned … wannabe social justice warrior” and a “snowflake” after she complained about his social media posts, the Herald Scotland reported.

Hijazi, who told the Herald she is “of Palestinian descent,” contacted the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission over the exchange between Berlow and the Aberdeen branch of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

The argument took place in 2016 over a protest by the group over a kiosk selling Dead Sea products.

“You simply found a soft Jewish target to aim your bile at,” Berlow said in response to an anonymous post by an administrator of the SPSC Aberdeen Facebook page that said the business was a “legitimate target for boycott.”

Hijazi later sent screenshots of the online dispute with Berlow to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, which decided there were “potential conduct issues” and referred it to the Law Society of Scotland.

The Law Society investigation into Hijazi’s complaint found that Berlow’s Facebook posts “blurred the lines between his private and public life,” according to the Herald.

The report said Berlow used “derogatory language” that was “damaging to the reputation of both the profession as a whole and of the individual solicitor concerned.”

Berlow was ordered to pay a $2,300 fine and undergo diversity training. He said he will appeal the diversity training, saying it is unnecessary, and called the fine “the cost of defending Israel.”

In a Herald interview published Sunday, Berlow described himself as a “Zionist” who supports the creation of a Palestinian state in the Middle East in a peace deal promoting a two-state solution. He said he is the founder of a group called Arabs and Jews for Peace and that he is married to a Muslim woman.

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