Dutch prosecutors drop Jewish community leader’s assault complaint


AMSTERDAM (JTA) — Dutch prosecutors ended a police investigation into the alleged assault of a Jewish community leader, explaining that it would be too expensive to follow through.

The Prosecutor’s Office in The Hague announced its decision last month about a complaint filed in July by the chairman of the Hague-based CiJo Jewish group, Hidde van Koningsveld, against Paul Mason, a British journalist, over an incident at a political rally that featured British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Van Koningsveld and two other witnesses affiliated with CiJo said that Mason hit van Koningsveld on July 5 at the Paard van Troje event venue in The Hague. Mason has denied the claim.

The event was organized by Dutch Labor activists who hosted a speech there by Corbyn, whom Mason supports. At the time of their exchange, van Koningsveld was holding a sign that read “Labour, for the many not the Jew” to protest Labour’s anti-Semitism problem under Corbyn, a far-left politician who has called Hamas and Hezbollah his friends.

Van Koningsveld was not seriously injured during the incident, though his glasses were damaged, he said.

In announcing the end of the probe into van Koningsveld’s complaint, the prosecutor’s office wrote to him that “too much needs to be invested to bring the issue before a judge. This is disproportional to the case.”

Van Koningsveld has deleted a number of tweets about the incident. Contacted by JTA, he declined to comment, citing legal action by Mason’s lawyers.

In a statement, CiJO said the decision to drop the investigation was “disappointing.”

“There are multiple witnesses and the suspect [is] pictured,” the organization wrote in the statement.

Mason, an author and frequent contributor to major newspapers in the United Kingdom who has more than 500,000 followers on Twitter, has denied the accusation. In July, he published a declaration titled “Statement on Hague meeting allegations: false, defamatory, evidence free and concocted.”

“Claims that I punched somebody are concocted, ludicrous and without evidence,” he wrote.

According to Mason, he did interact with the three protesters to tell them that he objected to the sign. He had thought upon seeing van Koningsveld’s sign that “a small group had hung an anti-Semitic banner, presumably to embarrass Labour,” Mason wrote in the statement.

Mason also wrote that although one of the three protesters “half-heartedly elbowed me in the chest, I at no point retaliated.” In the same statement, he also wrote that throughout his interaction with van Koningsveld, “the situation was tense but peaceful at all times.”

According to an account of the altercation by David Garcia, a supporter of Corbyn who apparently also was present at the event, “Paul Mason who was also present was understandably furious and tried to pull it down.”

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