Search This Blog

Monday, 9 May 2016

A history of anti-Semitism – and why opposing it benefits us all


They know where you live

Imagine your house being raided by armed police. That’s what happened to Mumsnet’s Justine Roberts after she fell victim to an internet hoaxer.

At around midnight on Tuesday 11 August 2015, a man dialled 999 to report a murder. A woman had been killed in her London home, he said, before hanging up without offering his name. A second call followed. This time, the man claimed to be the killer. He told the operator that he had now taken the woman’s children hostage at the Islington address. They were locked with him inside a room in the house, he said. The police responded with reassuring speed. Fifteen minutes later, eight officers, five of them armed with automatic weapons, accompanied by saliva-flecked dogs, arrived at the scene and took up position in neighbouring front gardens. When one officer banged on the front door of the house, the team was greeted, moments later, not by a masked murderer but by a blinking and bewildered au pair.
Justine Roberts, the woman whom the caller claimed to have killed, was in fact nearly 2,000 kilometres away – in Italy, holidaying with her husband and children. After explaining this to the police, the au pair called Roberts, who assumed that the incident was an unfortunate misunderstanding, one that could be unpicked after the vacation. It was no mistake. Roberts had been the victim of “swatting”, the term given to a false emergency call designed to bait an armed unit of police officers to storm someone’s home. It wasn’t until a few days later, as the family was preparing to return to London, that Roberts discovered that she had been the target of a planned and sustained attack, not only on her household, but also on her business.
Roberts is the founder of Mumsnet, the popular British internet discussion forum on which parents share advice and information. A few days before the swatting incident, members of 8chan, a chat room that prides itself on being an open, anonymous platform for free speech, no matter how distasteful, had registered accounts on Mums­net with the aim of trolling people there. When legitimate Mumsnet users identified and then ridiculed the trolls, some retreated to 8chan to plot more serious vengeance in a thread that the police later discovered. Roberts wasn’t involved in the online skirmish but, as the public face of the site, she was chosen as the first target.
After the initial armed response, Roberts’s perception was that the police were unconcerned about the swatting attack. “We were told that there was no victim, so there was not much that could be done,” she told me. The hoax caller, however, was not finished. In the days after the incident, there was chatter on Mumsnet and Twitter about what had happened. A Mumsnet user whom I will call Jo Scott – she requested anonymity for her own safety – exchanged heated messages with a hacker who claimed responsibility for the 999 call.
“It descended into jokes and silliness, like many things do,” Scott said. “I didn’t take it seriously when the hacker said he had big surprises in store.” She doesn’t believe that what happened next was personal. “I think I was just easy to find.”
A few days after police were called to Roberts’s home, Scott was in her bedroom while her husband was sitting downstairs playing video games. At 11pm, she heard a noise outside. “I looked out of the window and saw blue flashing lights in the street,” she recalled. “I could hear shouting but I didn’t pay it much notice.” Then she heard her husband open the front door. Police rushed into the house. An armed officer shouted upstairs, asking Scott if she was hurt. When she replied that she was fine, he told her to fetch her two young children: he needed to see them. Scott shook her sons awake, explaining, so as not to alarm them, that the police had come to show the boys their cars. As the three of them went downstairs, the officers swept up through the house, repeatedly asking if there were any weapons on the property.
“I was beyond confused by this point,” Scott said. “Everyone was carrying a gun. They had little cutaway bits so you could see the bullets. My eldest asked one of the officers if he could have a go on his gun and went to touch it.”
As Scott sat with an officer downstairs, she asked what had happened to her husband. “I later found out that the noises I’d heard were the police calling for him to come outside,” she said. “He dropped the PlayStation controller as he left the room. It was only later that we realised it’s a good job he did: in the dark, the controller might have looked like a weapon.”
Outside, Scott’s husband had been surrounded and arrested. Other police ­officers were on the lookout in the front gardens of nearby properties, having warned the couple’s neighbours to stay indoors, away from their windows. “One of the officers said it was beginning to look like a hoax,” Scott said. “Then he mentioned swatting. As soon as he said that word, I twigged that I’d seen the term that day on Twitter in relation to the Mumsnet hack.”
The term “swatting” has been used by the FBI since 2008. “Swat” is an acronym of “Special Weapons and Tactics”, the American police squads routinely called to intervene in hostage situations. It is, in a sense, a weaponised version of a phoney order of pizza, delivered as a prank to a friend’s home, albeit one that carries the possibility of grave injury at the hands of police. For perpetrators, the appeal is the ease with which the hoax can be set in motion and the severity of the results. With a single, possibly untraceable phone call, dialled from anywhere in the world, it is possible to send an armed unit to any address, be it the home of a high-profile actor whom you want to prank or that of someone you want to scare.
In America, where swatting originated, the practice has become so widespread – targets have included Tom Cruise, Taylor Swift, Clint Eastwood and the Californian congressman Ted Lieu – that it is now classed as an act of domestic terrorism. In the UK, where Justine Roberts’s was one of the first recorded cases, swatting is classed as harassment, though that may change if these and other forms of internet vigilante attacks, such as doxxing, become increasingly commonplace.
Doxxing involves the publication of someone’s personal details – usually their home address, phone numbers, bank details and, in some cases, email address – on the internet. It is often the prelude to swatting: after all, the perpetrator of a hoax cannot direct the police to the target’s home address until this is known. (During the week of the Mumsnet attacks, one of the perpetrators attempted to locate another target using their computer’s IP address, which can identify where a person is connected to the internet, often with alarming precision. Their calculation, however, was slightly out; police were called to a neighbour’s address.)
Though doxxing has a less dramatic outcome than swatting, the psychological effects can be just as severe. For victims – usually people who are active on the internet and who have outspoken opinions or who, in the eyes of an internet mob, have committed some kind of transgression – the mere threat of having their personal information made available on the web can cause lasting trauma. A Canadian software developer whose home address, bank details, social security number and email history were published online in 2014 told me that he now keeps an axe by his front door. “I still don’t feel safe here,” he said. “It’s terrifying.”
Christos Reid, a social media manager for a software company, was doxxed last year. Reid’s information came from a website he had registered seven years earlier. “I woke up one morning to find a tweet announcing my personal details,” he told me. When he asked the Twitter account holder to take down the address, he was told to commit suicide. Reid said he was “OK for about half an hour”; but then, after he went out, he broke down in the street. “I’ve become more paranoid,” he said. He no longer gives out business cards with personal information.
Reid lives in London, but at the time of the doxx he was attending an event in Nottingham, home to the British police’s largest cybercrime division. He was impressed with the police response, even though they told him that they had not heard of the term “doxxing” before. “I was interviewed by two separate people about my experiences who then compiled everything into a case file and transferred it to the Met. When I arrived home, an officer visited me to discuss what happened and my options.”
The policeman explained harassment law to Reid, and offered advice on how to improve security at his flat and what to do if someone hostile turned up at the address. Reid shouldered the repercussions of what had happened alone; no suspects were identified. A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police similarly said that although detectives from Islington CID have investigated the swatting attacks made on Roberts and Scott, no suspects have been identified “at this time”, even as “inquiries continue”.
Doxxing may seem to be a mild form of harassment but it carries with it an implicit threat of impending violence; the worrying message is: “We know where you live.” Unlike swatting, which is always malicious, doxxing is sometimes viewed by its perpetrators as virtuous. In November 2014, hackers claiming to be aligned with the internet group Anonymous published personal information allegedly belonging to a Ku Klux Klan member from Missouri. The hackers said that their action was a response to the KKK’s threat to use lethal force against demonstrators in the city of Ferguson, Missouri, protesting against the killing of the unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer. In January 2015 hackers claiming to be from Isis took over US Central Command’s Twitter account and posted information about senior military officers, including phone numbers and email addresses. In each case, those carrying out the doxxing believed, however mistakenly, in the virtue of their actions and hoped that the information could be used to bring punishment or ruin to the subject.
The term “doxxing” may be new but the practice is an old one. The Hollywood blacklist revealed the political beliefs and associations of actors and directors in the late 1940s as a way to invite shame, deny employment and dissuade others from following their example. “But it has become a lot easier to find people’s private details with the help of the internet,” Jeroen Vader told me. Vader owns Pastebin, a website that allows users to upload and distribute text documents, and where much of the personal data is anonymously uploaded and shared. “People post their private information on social networks,” he said. “A lot of people aren’t aware that their information is so easily available to others.”
In Justine Roberts’s case, the perpetrator may not even have needed to look at social networks to mine her personal information. “If you’re on the electoral roll, you’re easy to find,” she said. “There’s not much you can do to stop people getting hold of your data one way or another, whether it’s for nefarious reasons or simply to better advertise to you. We live in a world that is constantly trying to gather more information about us.”
Jeroen Vader said he has noticed an “upward trend” in the number of doxxing posts uploaded to Pastebin in recent months, but insisted that when someone uses the site’s abuse report system these offending posts are removed immediately.
Across social media companies, action is more often reactive than proactive. Victoria Taylor, a former director at Reddit, one of the largest community-driven websites in the world, said that the rule against publishing other users’ personal information has been “consistently one of the site’s most basic policies” and that “any violation of this rule is taken extremely seriously by the team and community”. Still, she was only able to recommend that victims of doxxing send a message to the site’s administrators. Similarly, when asked what a person can do to remove personal details that have been published without permission, a Twitter spokesperson said: “Use our help form.”
The spokesperson added: “There has def­initely been an overall increase in doxxing since 2006, both on Twitter and on the internet more generally.” She attributed this rise to the emergence of search engines such as Intelius and Spokeo, services designed to locate personal information.
The surge in the number of dox­xing and swatting attacks is in part a result of the current lack of legal protection for victims. Confusion regarding the law on doxxing is pervasive; the term is even not mentioned in either US or European law. In a tutorial posted on Facebook in 2013, the writer claims: “Doxxing isn’t illegal as all the information you have obtained is public,” and adds: “But posting of the doxx might get you in a little trouble.”
Phil Lee, a partner in the privacy, security and information department of Fieldfisher based at the law firm’s office in Silicon Valley, said that differing privacy laws around the world were part of the problem. “Various countries have laws that cover illegal or unauthorised obtaining of data. Likewise, some of the consequences of releasing that data, such as defamation or stalking, cover elements of what we now term doxxing. But there is no global law covering what is a global phenomenon.” Indeed, Roberts believes that her London address was targeted from America – the 999 call was routed through a US proxy number.
One challenge to creating a law on doxxing is that the sharing of personal information without permission has already become so widespread in the digital age. “If a law was to state something like, ‘You must not post personal information about another person online without their consent,’ it wouldn’t reflect how people use the internet,” Lee said. “People post information about what their friends and family members have been doing all the time without their consent.
“Such a law could have a potentially detrimental effect on freedom of speech.”
Lee believes that a specific law is unnecessary, because its potentially harmful effects are already covered by three discrete pieces of legislation dealing with instances where a person’s private information is obtained illegally, when that information is used to carry out illegal acts and when the publication of the information is accompanied by a threat to incite hatred. However, this does not adequately account for cases in which the information is obtained legally, and then used to harass the individual in a more legally ambiguous manner, either with prank phone calls or with uninvited orders of pizza.
Susan Basko, an independent lawyer who practises in California and who has been doxxed in the course of her frequent clashes with internet trolls, believes that the onus should be on the law, rather than the public. She points out that in the US it is a crime to publicise information about a government employee such as their home address, their home and cellphone numbers, or their social security number, even if the information is already online. “This law should apply to protect all people, not just federal employees,” she said. “And websites, website-hosting companies and other ISPs should be required to uphold this law.”
Basko said that doxxing will continue to increase while police have inadequate resources to follow up cases. For now, it is up to individuals to take preventative measures. Zoë Quinn, an American game designer and public speaker who was doxxed in 2014, has launched Crash Override, a support network and assistance group for targets of online harassment, “composed entirely of experienced survivors”.
Quinn, who spoke about the problem at a congressional hearing in Washington, DC in April last year, recently posted a guide on how to reduce the likelihood of being doxxed. “If you are worried you might some day be targeted,” she wrote, “consider taking an evening to stalk yourself online, deleting and opting out of anything you’re not comfortable with.”
Both Scott and Roberts have changed their privacy habits following the attacks. Scott is more careful about interacting with strangers online, while Roberts uses scrambler software, which ensures that she never uses the same password for more than one online site or service.
For both women’s families, the effects of their encounters with armed police have also lingered. When one day recently Roberts’s husband returned home early from work, the au pair called the police, believing it was an intruder. And Scott is haunted by what happened.
“What if my husband had made a sudden move or resisted in some way? What if my eldest had grabbed the gun instead of gently reaching for it? What if people locally believed that my husband did actually have guns in the house?” she asks. “I don’t think the people making these sorts of hoax calls realise the impact.”

Charles Aznavour’s familys saved Jews from Nazis

Charles Aznavour’s family hid Jews in their home during the German occupation of Paris in World War II, French-Armenian singer reveals in new book.

Avner Shapira

“I knew the chains/I knew the wound/I knew the hate/I knew the hurt/ the thirst and hunger/I knew the fear/from one day to the next.”

So go the lyrics to Charles Aznavour’s song “J’ai Connu,” from his 50th studio album, released in 2011. The song, told from the perspective of a Jewish prisoner in the Nazi concentration camps, doesn’t describe the singer’s direct experiences during World War II. But Aznavour, who will celebrate his 92nd birthday later this month, did have some personal awareness of some of the horrors depicted in the song, as the son of refugees who survived the Armenian genocide and rebuilt their lives in Paris after losing most of their relatives.

Although Aznavour’s life has been extensively chronicled, up to now he has said very little about an especially humane and heroic chapter in his and his family’s life: Their decision to shelter and save Jews, Armenian deserters and underground activists in their home during the German occupation of France during the war, and their involvement in anti-Nazi activitvity.

 Aznavour family in the 1920s. Charles’ father, Mischa (center), is next to his wife, Knar

Now Aznavour has decided to tell the whole story, in Hebrew, in a self-published book, “Matzilim (Tzadikim) Ve’Lohamim” (“Righteous Saviors and Fighters”), by genocide researcher Prof. Yair Auron.

The latter spoke at length with Aznavour and his sister, Aida Aznavour-Garvarentz, who told him about their lives under the German occupation and what led their family, especially their father, to take part in rescue missions despite the many risks. The book, which will also be translated into French and Armenian, recounts a specific case, but offers a moral lesson on human behavior under conditions of widespread terror, and political and ideological violence. Above all, it is the moving story of survivors of one genocide who, at great personal risk, felt compelled to help victims of another.

In an interview conducted by email, Aznavour emphasizes the common threads that bind the Armenians and Jews.

“We come from the same pain and the same suffering, and without the annihilation of the Armenians in 1915-1918, the annihilation of the Jews in the Holocaust would not have been possible, because the Germans learned from their predecessors,” he writes.

He cites what Hitler told the commanders of the German army in August 1939, on the eve of the invasion of Poland, as he tried to dispel their anxiety over the use of extreme violence: “Who talks about the annihilation of the Armenians anymore?”

Auron says German officers who were involved in the command of the Turkish army in World War I and signed orders to expel the Armenians later served in high-ranking positions in the Nazi leadership and took part in the annihilation of the Jews.

Aznavour say he knew many Jews when he was a child in Paris.

“We grew up together in the Le Marais district, where many refugees and immigrants – including many Jews and Armenians – lived in the period between the two world wars. My father’s stall in the market was next to the stalls of some Jewish vendors.

“Armenian peddlers, including my father, looked after the stalls of the Jews after they were arrested in the mass deportation of Parisian Jews [“the roundup”] in July 1942. So taking in and hiding Jews in our home during the war was a very natural thing for us to do: they were our neighbors and friends,” he adds. “We had a life together. We were there for them and they were there for us. We had to try to help them, just as it was natural for us to try and help the Armenians who were drafted into the German army and deserted.”

In his three previous autobiographical works, Aznavour made very little mention of these acts of salvation. He told Auron he didn’t think they were so special and didn’t want to be perceived as immodest. But the professor convinced him of the importance of telling the story. Now the singer says, “I’m very proud of my family’s story and the beautiful, noble humanity of the act of rescue. Nothing makes me happier than to think that my dear parents saved people’s lives.”

Burning the uniforms

Aznavour was born in Paris on May 22, 1924, not long after his parents first arrived there. His father, Mischa Aznavourian, was born in Georgia in 1895 and lost his entire family in the Armenian genocide. His mother, Knar Baghdasaryan, was born in Izmir in 1904, and only she and her grandmother out of her entire family survived the genocide.

The couple fled Turkey on an Italian ship that brought them to Thessaloniki, Greece, where their eldest daughter, Aida, was born in 1923.

The family had many Armenian friends in Paris, among them a couple named Mélinée and Missak Manouchian. The latter was the military commander of the underground group known as L’Affiche Rouge (The Red Poster), which was the first to carry out armed resistance actions against the Nazis. Aznavour’s family aided the group on many occasions and also hid the Manouchians for several months while they were being hunted by the French police and Gestapo.

The first time the family hid someone during World War II was when a friend of Aznavour’s father brought his brother to them – a Romanian Jew who lived in Germany, was accused of subversion and sentenced to death. He had managed to escape to France disguised as a German soldier, and he knew that the Gestapo was after him. He found refuge in the family’s three-room apartment at 22 rue de Navarin, in Paris’ ninth arrondissement.

At the start of the war, Aida recounts in the book, “We understood that the Jews were going to be the victims of brutality. We looked upon the Jews with sadness and sorrow. We knew what genocide was.” She says her parents showed no hesitation in taking in the Jewish refugee, “even though it was clear that if the Nazis found this man in our house, they’d kill us right away. We told him that our home was his home, and we treated him warmly, like a good friend who had to extend his stay. For a few days, he even slept in the same bed as Charles.”

Sheltering 11 refugees at a time

The two Aznavour children, who were 16 and 17 at the start of the German occupation in 1940, pitched in to help, not knowing then that they would go on offering shelter to strangers. But then a woman came to the family, asking them to hide her Jewish husband, whose name was Simon. He had escaped from the Drancy internment camp, where the Jews of Paris were sent before being sent to the concentration camps outside of France.
For a while, the family also sheltered another Jew, and later on their apartment also served as a hideout for Armenians who’d deserted after being forcibly drafted into the Germany army.
Aznavour and his sister say there were days when 11 refugees were all hiding in the family’s apartment simultaneously. They hid in different corners of the house, and at night had to sleep on the floor.
The family prepared false papers for them, and one of the tasks assigned to the two children was to burn the deserters’ German uniforms and dispose of them far from the house.

How aware were you of the political significance of hiding wanted people in your family home? How aware of the danger were you?

Aznavour: “My parents knew the danger was there every day, but my sister and I only grasped it later. We were ‘crazy’ young people. We were living out our youth and we followed in our parents’ footsteps. Only after the war did we realize how great the risk really was.”

Auron dedicates a large part of his book to the activities of L’Affiche Rouge – whose story is barely known in Israel, despite significant Jewish participation in it.

The group, which was associated with the French Communist Party and whose members were mostly immigrants without French citizenship, was active in 1942-1943 as part of the French Resistance, and carried out armed attacks against the French police and Gestapo, inflicting casualties among the Germans.

It was named after the red propaganda poster the authorities distributed against it, which included photographs of 10 members who were apprehended.

The group had about 200 members; 67 were arrested, including 34 Jews and three Armenians. Of the 23 who were sentenced to death, 12 were Jews and two Armenian, including Missak Manouchian.
When Manouchian was arrested, his wife found refuge with her friends the Aznavours, after other friends refused to take her in. Aznavour says his parents’ close friendship with the Manouchians was part of the special kinship shared by Armenian survivors. He has vivid memories of the couple from his childhood – “Missak taught me to play chess,” he recalls.

He says that although his parents didn’t officially belong to the Resistance, they aided much of the underground’s activity. His mother helped a group transport weapons that were hidden in a baby carriage.
When Manouchian was arrested, he sent a postcard to Aznavour’s mother, telling her that her son would bring honor to the Armenian people and glory to France. His words helped reassure his mother and planted hope for her son’s future success.

Auron says there were many other Armenian families, like the Aznavour family, who saved Jews during the Holocaust. Twenty-four of them have been recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations, but there were even more.
Because of this connection between Armenians and Jews, both Auron and Aznavour are upset by Israel’s stance on the Armenian genocide. “I’m very sorry that Israel does not recognize the Armenian genocide,” says Aznavour, “because it was the model the Nazis used for the Jewish genocide.”

Thursday, 5 May 2016

MK tells untold story of the North African Holocaust

MK Rachel Azaria

An MK for the Kulanu party held an event last night designed to draw attention to the persecution of Jews in North Africa by the Axis powers and French Vichy government, as Israel began observing Holocaust Remembrance Day. The Jerusalem Post reports (with thanks: Lily):
“The story that has not been told,” is an initiative of Kulanu MK Rachel Azaria and the Shaharit Institute in Tel Aviv where it is being held.
Although the persecution of Jews in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Libya occurred during World War II on a smaller scale, and mass murder and genocide was not perpetrated in these countries, Jews were nevertheless subjected to discriminatory racial laws and several thousand were sent to forced labor and concentration camps.
Azaria, whose father is from Tunisia, said the accounts of the persecution of North Africa Jewry must be included in the national narrative about the Holocaust.
“Over many years, the story of North African Jews, as well as the story of Jews in the former Soviet Union, has not gained a central place in the dialogue of remembrance, even though it pertains to a large communities in Israel,” she said.

Read article in ful

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Scottish Labour and the left must rid themselves of the poison of anti-Semitism

By Denis MacEoin 
MANY people seem to have been taken aback by the discovery that deep anti-Semitism lurks within the Labour Party. "Who knew?" many voices cry. Well, the truth is a lot of us, Jews and non-Jews alike have known for years. Sadly, it’s not confined to extremists down south. Scotland’s Jewish community has been alarmed and deeply concerned about recent developments. A couple of months ago, the Edinburgh University Student Association passed an anti-Semitism resolution to boycott Israel, then posters appeared on campus denying the Holocaust, posters that have now moved to Glasgow. You’d be worried too if you were a Scottish Jew. 
Last week Glasgow Friends of Israel wrote to Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, asking her to confirm that anti-Semites in the Scottish Labour Party would be suspended as they have been in England. She has thus far not responded, despite this being the biggest crisis in her party in many years. 
For years now, the “New Anti-Semitism” has been growing across the globe, most notably in Europe. Just last year, 8,000 Jews left France to seek refuge from anti-Semites, while countries like Greece, Hungary and Romania are viciously anti-Semitic. As is Germany. Is this old-fashioned far-right anti-Semitism dismissable as the ravings of shaven-headed no-hopers who’ve learned nothing from history? In some places, especially Eastern Europe, it is, but move further west and things change. For a long time now, European anti-Semitism, including its variants in the UK, has been driven for the most part by two groups: radical Muslims often from countries where explicit, no-holds-barred anti-Semitism reaches 90 per cent of the population, and radical left-wingers. It doesn’t always look like anti-Semitism, but it is nothing less than that, and it is deeply poisonous. 
Commonly, left-wingers, including members of the Labour Party, exclaim “we are not anti-Semitic because we are not racists”, and they get away with that every time. They say their angry hatred for the Jewish State of Israel is merely ordinary politics. But this argument, voiced repeatedly recently, is just worn and threadbare doublespeak. Fair and balanced criticism of Israel is perfectly acceptable, but heavy-handed slurs about the country, telling outrageous lies about its policies and daily life, and giving succour to terrorist organisations intent on destroying Israel and committing a second genocide of millions of Jews, by any standards cross a moral rubicon. 
Demonisation of Israel and holding it to standards not used against any other country on earth, including the worst dictatorships, falls under the definition of anti-Semitism used by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia and the US State Department. The left’s repeated calls for boycotts of Israel as an “an apartheid state” is total deception. Israel is so totally free of apartheid that anyone who has been there knows the accusation is an outright lie. Continually repeating this untruth is anti-Semitism. 
So many left-wingers are so ignorant about and so deeply biased against Israel that their naïveté exposes them to ridicule. Like that man of peace and brotherly love, Jeremy Corbyn, who has called terror organisations Hamas and Hezbollah his friends and appeared on many platforms calling for a “Free Palestine”. Here are some sentences from the 1988 Hamas Covenant which is still in force: “Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement [Hamas]. There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavours.” What pacifist could consider such warmongers as his friends and call for dialogue with them as a path to peace? 
When radical Muslims and the far left – with which Mr Corbyn is closely linked – march through our cities chanting “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas”, and pro-Palestinians chant “Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea”, where the river is the Jordan and the sea is the Mediterranean, they have a single goal, the elimination of Israel and its replacement with a Greater Palestine. 
In this election week its worth remembering that candidate vetting is a matter for Scotland’s political parties. Perhaps the suggestion by UK Labour Deputy Leader Tom Watson MP that the party south of the Border tightens its vetting procedures might usefully be applied here as a first step in riding our polity of this intolerant poison. 
Dr Denis MacEoin is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute and a former lecturer in Arabic and Islamic Studies at Newcastle University.