Two people have been charged with arson in connection with a fire in a shed at the Ballards Lane N3 constituency office of Finchley & Golders Green MP Mike Freer, which the Metropolitan Police are not treating as a hate crime.
There were suspicions that the fire, which the Met says was deliberately started, might have been motivated by Freer’s views about the Middle East and support for Israel amid a sharp rise in reports of anti-semitic incidents in London following the Hamas atrocities of 7 October 2023 and Israel’s ongoing military response to them, which has resulted in the deaths of many Palestinian civilians.
Although Freer is not Jewish, he considers his long-held stance on the Middle East conflict to be aligned with the interests of the many Jewish Londoners who live in his constituency, which includes the Golders Green neighbourhood, where nearly half of residents are Jews.
The two people, both of no fixed address, have also been charged with arson, in this instance without intent, in relation to a fire started at the rear of a restaurant in the same area earlier on the same day. They appeared at Willesden Magistrates’ Court yesterday morning.
The Met have asked anyone with information that could assist them with these cases to call 101 or ‘X’ @MetCC and quote CAD4971/24Dec. They can can also provide information anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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