Anti-Israel rally in London (Archive)
A British official says a UK diplomat has been suspended following his arrest for an alleged anti-Semitic rant in a London gym.
Foreign Office Minister Gillian Merron told members of Parliament on Friday that Rowan Laxton, 47, had been suspended from his job at the Foreign Office and will face disciplinary proceedings.
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He was arrested last month on suspicion of threatening to stir up religious hatred – an offense that carries a maximum jail term of seven years – but has not been charged.
He allegedly used foul language and criticized Israel's conduct during the conflict in Gaza and allegedly made an offensive comment about Judaism.
He allegedly used foul language as he criticized Israel's conduct during the conflict in Gaza at a fitness center at the London Business School last month. Laxton is also alleged to have made an offensive comment about the Jewish religion.
Gym users said Laxton had shouted, "Fucking Israelis, fucking Jews" while watching a news report on the occurrences in Gaza, and said that all Israeli soldiers "should be wiped off the map", the Daily Mail reported.
Merron says the police investigation continues.
Laxton coordinated work on the South Asia region and was responsible for briefing Foreign Secretary David Miliband and other ministers about the area.