Could anything be done or said by the SNP government to stem the tide, or will Jew-hatred persist as long as there are Jews to hate? For a few decades after the Holocaust, it seemed that anti-Semitism might wane or even die out. That hope has now been defeated, I am not talking about elsewhere in the world I am talking about my own country Scotland. I would like to know why us Jews are increasingly unwelcome in the 21st century? Why wearing visibly Jewish clothing such as a kippa in Glasgow or Edinburgh means risking verbal abuse or even physical violence. Last Saturday at the Breahead Shopping Centre in Glasgow where a Jewish cosmetics store called Jericho which is located on the second floor amongst other most fashionable stores has been effectively blockaded by pro Palestinians demonstrators, who have often stopped or deterred would-be shoppers from gaining access to the store with intimidation and harassment while security who were present stood by and none intervened to move these thugs away. They were comparing Israelis to Nazis and telling passersby that Israel is a racist country. The Jewish community is proud of its long-standing and significant role in all aspects of Glasgow life and the present time they will be genuinely concerned at the serious increase in anti-Semitism and I a believe the Jewish leadership would welcome a new committment to work with the community and the Police to address it seriously.
Member of Scottish Friends of Israel
Jericho Retail Unit/ Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC)
You will be aware of the harassment aimed at the staff and customers of the Jericho Retail Outlet within the Braehead Centre and, by extension, other patrons of the centre in recent weeks. While I understand that passed without serious incident it is now indicated, in an open letter sent to your office that SPSC intends to strengthen its activity at your location.
SPSC followers, in engaging in what many see as criminal behaviour, makes clear that the goal is to have Jericho moved on due to the concerns of other retailers and the possible disruption caused by the continued protests. In Germany, in the 1930s, this style of boycott was all too familiar as hatred of Jews was building towards the 'Final Solution'. Similar tactics are now being advocated towards the Jewish State of Israel....and to what end?
An extremist and racist anti-Israel group, SPSC has a recorded history of interaction with Holocaust deniers and Hamas sympathisers. Andrew Stunnell MP, during his tenure as spokesman for the UK Government Minister for Communities, described SPSC as “offensive” and several SPSC members have been convicted of racially aggravated crimes in relation to similar harassment and intimidation. Recently, Sheriff Charles Macnair QC, at Cupar Sheriff Court, described a convicted SPSC activist thus:
“This was a racist incident. Nobody disputes your right to a political view as to the behaviour of Israel – that’s perfectly legitimate…. In particular the part of your behaviour which I find most serious was that you described Mr Reitblat as a terrorist because of his association with Israel. It’s the direct equivalent of those who suggest that all Muslims are terrorist.”
Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, upon which the demonstrators so heavily rely, and which may or may not apply in this situation, while confirming everyone has the right to freedom of expression, also states:
“The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others”.
In the ever heightening atmosphere engendered by the Arab/Israel conflict, should customers and traders be forced to defend themselves from SPSC harassment and physical confrontation, there is a likely-hood that public health and safety within the Braehead Centre could be jeopardised.
Braehead Centre has, in the first instance, a duty of care to its retailers and customers. There are “conditions” and/or “restrictions” that your company can use to “ensure public safety” and “for the prevention of disorder or crime”. I urge you to investigate those powers and trust you will use them to remove any potential and actual demonstrators from within the centre.
Scottish Friends of Israel