Scottish Council of Jewish Communites
Scottish Council of Jewish Communities

 
Scottish Council of Jewish Communities

Conference about Hate Crime
 
24 March 2010
Hate Crime Conference

SCoJeC Director Ephraim Borowski was one of the invited speakers at a Conference organised by the Solicitor General and ACPOS, to mark the commencement of new legislation creating a statutory aggravation for hate crime.

After summarising some key facts about the Scottish Jewish Community of Scotland, he described how SCoJeC was established at the time of Devolution as a representative democratic body both to speak for the consensus within the Community to Government and others, and to provide support to the small communities and isolated individuals, some of whom feel exposed and vulnerable.

Ephraim highlighted a number of potential misconceptions about the Community:

Although the majority of the Community is concentrated in the main urban areas, there are Jewish people throughout Scotland, many of them living in remote rural locations.

The 2001 census figures seriously underestimate the number of people who might identify as Jewish in different circumstances; a more realistic estimate is 10-12,000. In addition, significant numbers of Jewish people visit Scotland each year, so public authorities should not measure potential demand solely in terms of census figures.

In some contexts Judaism suffers from apparent familiarity because of the dominant Christian culture, and is often seen "through the eyes of the elephant". One frequent example of this is the Hebrew Bible being wrongly regarded as the Christian "Old Testament". This can sometimes cause Jewish people to feel alienated.

There is no one "minority community" in Scotland, but many distinct minorities which may have little or nothing in common. It is, therefore, imperative that public policy recognises the "diversity of diversity", and provides services that cater for all according to their different needs.

Finally, Ephraim summarised the recently-released CST report on antisemitic incidents, which showed an increase from 10 incidents in Scotland during 2008 to 30 in 2009.  He showed a number of graphic examples of recent incidents, and concluded by welcoming the seriousness with which the police and prosecutors regard these cases along with other examples of hate crime.

 

   
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