antisemitism,  Scotland,  UK Politics

Antisemitic crimes in Scotland tripled last year

Antisemitic hate crimes in Scotland tripled in 2009, according to a report by two Scots academics.

The document accuses the Scottish Trades Union Congress of bias after the STUC called for sanctions against Israel last year. The study was compiled by Ephraim Borowski, director of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities and former head of the philosophy department at Glasgow University, and Kenneth Collins, chairman of the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre and visiting professor at the medical faculty of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

They wrote: “There has been historically little anti-Semitism in Scotland, and in particular good relations with the churches. Recently there has been a significant increase, much of it associated with events in the Middle East.

“Specifically, the Scottish trade union movement has pursued a policy of boycotting Israel despite a dialogue with the Jewish community aimed at understanding both sides of the conflict.”

You may recall that the STUC called on supporters of Glasgow Celtic to wave Palestinian flags at their Europa League home match last December against Israel’s Hapoel Tel Aviv, in “solidarity with suffering Palestinians.”

David Moxham, deputy secretary of the STUC, said yesterday: “The study is a very partial account. It is out of context and attempts to show that we have approached this in a biased fashion. We are biased to the extent that we don’t consider the situation in the Middle East to be a conflict between equal partners. We do think that Israel does have an enormous responsibility to change its activities, as does the international community.”

Before the match in December, Moxham said: “We hope that Celtic fans will join with us in a demonstration of support for a just and lasting peace in Israel/Palestine based on a secure Palestinian homeland living side by side with Israel.”

To which I replied: “Can’t someone explain to Brother Moxham that a ‘just and lasting peace’ and a ‘Palestinian homeland living side by side with Israel’ are the last things his allies in the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign want?”

In an interesting development, Osama Saeed, the Scottish National Party’s candidate for MP in Glasgow Central, has spoken out strongly against the antisemitic attacks and said that “the route I support is to achieve a peaceful solution where Israelis and Palestinians live side by side.”

He has even (perhaps unfairly) raised as an issue the role of his Labour opponent’s father on the board of Finsbury Park Mosque, “including serving alongside a Hamas supporter.”

What makes this interesting is, as the Jewish Chronicle reports:

Mr Saeed was once a spokesman for the Muslim Association of Britain, often seen as Hamas’s mouthpiece in the UK. He also recently argued on the Guardian’s Comment is Free website for the concept of the global Islamic state, the “Khilafah.”

In fairness, Saeed wrote that piece more than four years ago, when he still was with the MAB.

Update: To state what I hope is obvious, there’s no evidence that the SNP or one of its supporters is responsible for painting the vile slogan pictured above. I’m sure the overwhelming majority of SNP members would reject it. On the other hand, it’s a stretch to suggest that it was some kind of “false-flag” operation to smear the SNP. The point is, it’s deeply troubling that anyone would be motivated to do such a thing.