×

Message

Failed loading XML...

According to the Jewish Telegraph and Ezra Golombok of the Israel Information Office in Scotland: 
THERE has been a steady increase in support for the Palestinians in Scotland in recent years and this has led to raised levels of antisemitism in the country.
"That criticism of Israel descends disturbingly close to antisemitic stereotype is obvious".
 
Jewish Telegraph 28 February 2010
Should Palestinian support worry us?
THERE has been a steady increase in support for the Palestinians in Scotland in recent years and this has led to raised levels of antisemitism in the country.
Are the constant attacks on Israel simply a manifestation of latent antisemitism within the Scottish people or are there underlying reasons why the current situation exists here?
It is true that there have been higher numbers of antisemitic incidents, including blog comments, hate mail and phone calls to Jewish individuals and organisations.
One such message read, 'Every filthy Jew in the UK should be banished, this time for good. You are a bunch of blood-sucking parasites - nothing but trouble for this country'.
There have been occasional daubings on synagogue and other walls. In an isolated community, the only Jewish pupil at one school was bullied for 'killing Christ'. When her mother complained to the teacher, the response was, 'well you did, didn't you?'.
It is clear though, that these incidents are comparatively rare. They are often related to the situation in the Middle East and particularly fuelled by events such as the war in Gaza.
Scots have always championed the underdog. When Israel was seen to be the underdog, there was a lot of support for the State. Now, the Palestinians are clearly seen as the ones who need backing.
And they are being bombarded with wholly one-sided information by a highly active anti-Israeli lobby in Scotland.
One of the main sources of anti-Israeli action is the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, formed in 2000, as a response to the second Intifada.
The SPSC is chaired by university lecturer Mick Napier. He and four colleagues are currently facing charges at the Edinburgh Sheriff Court accused of racially aggravated conduct after disrupting a concert by the Jerusalem Quartet (whom they describe as 'notoriously pro-Zionist') at the city's Queen's Hall in August 2008.
The SPSC website is filled with virulent hatred of all things Israeli. It states: "The various activities of the SPSC are related in some way to the Palestinian appeal for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israeli companies and state-supported institutions. We have identified Israel's Achilles' Heel: while the regional super-power can kill lightly-armed Palestinians with virtual impunity, the Zionist State has become deeply unpopular around the world and vulnerable to boycott.
"Wherever we unearth institutional collaboration with Israel in Scottish society, whether in universities, city councils and the Scottish Parliament, we are able to challenge it with every chance of succeeding."
SPSC has managed to latch on to the odd Holocaust survivor who compares Israel's actions with that of the Nazis and is very happy to promote its thoughts.
But is this turning most Scots against Israel and Jews?
Dr Ezra Golombok, director of the Israel Information Office in Scotland, said: "However disturbing the activities of a vociferous anti-Israel body and the upsurge in anti-Israel content in the media, it is worth trying to assess the threat to which a diminishing Jewish community feels itself subjected.
"That criticism of Israel descends disturbingly close to antisemitic stereotype is obvious, but how widely is it shared? In truth, many Scots neither know nor care much about the Israel-Arab quarrel.
"There is more antipathy between Rangers and Celtic than directed at Jews or Israelis.
"The Palestine Solidarity Committee (or its locally named clones) seems well-funded and its few activist leaders are knowledgeable, expert in exploiting any situation for sniping at Israel and at gaining publicity for themselves.
"They secure the paper support of people in the public eye, such as MSPs and claim credit for gesture politics. They are actually quite few in number, but can have some effect in inspiring (in fact irrelevant) motions in the Scottish Parliament.
"They do some damage in trying to promote boycotts of Israeli produce.
"That their views have gained wide public support is doubtful. Hard-headed Scots are not so easily swayed.
"Monitoring the letter and web comments of Scottish newspapers reveals many that are fair to Israel, but not uncritical, among the outright attacks which seem often to emanate from the same few authors.
"Many of these attacks are inaccurate in substance and are open to informed correction. Like decent people everywhere, the Scottish public feels concern if presented with heavily slanted accounts of suffering children in Gaza.
"But that concern, for at least a proportion of readers, does not extend long beyond the headlines; and the antidote to the emotion is to provide a proper factual response."
He added: "Of course the media onslaught can be frightening, but the basic sense of fairness has not departed. If we feel under attack we need to respond. The only effective way is to be well-informed on trends and happenings affecting Israel and then to put the Israel - indeed the Jewish - case in conversation in letters and on the web.
"And not to fear open expression of informed opinion."
As Dr Golombok stated, it is not surprising that ordinary Scots will be moved by images and repeated accounts of Palestinian suffering. Indeed, I'm sure there aren't many Jews in Scotland who don't have sympathy for the plight of those Palestinians simply and peacefully wanting to get on with their lives and have their situation greatly improved.
And Scottish Jews, generally, aren't afraid to reveal their identity.
There will always be antisemitism, but there will always be manifestations of hatred of just about every group in society in Scotland.
It is distressing to see so many motions against Israel in the Scottish Parliament, but there are MSPs willing to speak out against them.
We should remember that Scotland has historically shown more tolerance and been more welcoming to its Jewish population than many other countries.
Long may it continue.
 

If you find our articles, research and contributions useful...
Please consider becoming a member or making a donation to Scottish PSC. We are a wholly volunteer organisation and we need your help to continue our work - focused on BDS and delivering effective solidarity with Palestinians.
JOIN / DONATE HERE

Receive news and updates - Join our mailing list!