The event that has given rise to most concern in the Jewish Community is the outrageous call by Yvonne Ridley, a former parliamentary candidate for the "Respect" party, "to make Scotland a Zionist-free zone". Since recent authoritative academic research found that more than 90% of the mainstream community identify with Israel in various ways, and around 3/4 describe themselves as Zionists, this is a call to expel the vast majority of the Jewish Community from Scotland, and has naturally caused not only outrage but fear. SCoJeC is therefore amongst those who have reported this noxious example of hate speech to the police.
SCoJeC has consistently been at the forefront of campaigns against hate crime, and efforts to promote good community relations in Scotland, and we therefore welcome the Muslim Council of Britain’s statement that they are “resolved to ensure that the Israel-Palestine conflict does not affect the excellent relations held between Muslims and Jews in the United Kingdom.”
It is not SCoJeC's role to express opinions on Middle East politics. It is SCoJeC's role to represent the interests of the Jewish Community in Scotland. We utterly condemn these latest manifestations of antisemitism masquerading under the pretext of political protest. We are continuing to collate information from the community on the developing situation, and are providing briefings for the Scottish Government, Police Scotland, and Crown Office.
Antisemitism does not consist only in personal abuse of individual Jews; it includes the application of different rules to Jewish people, institutions – and to the only Jewish country. As the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) hate crime manual put it, “Whilst all crime can increase the fear of being targeted in people other than the victim, fear of hate crime escalates dramatically in those who share with an immediate victim, the same group identity that has made a victim a target.” We are therefore concerned by the evident impact on Jewish people living in Scotland when those who condemn Israel are silent both about its right to defend its citizens, and about conflicts with far more casualties; and when the very people who rushed to condemn the stigmatisation of the entire Muslim community after the murder of Gunner Rigby take the lead in the stigmatisation of the entire Jewish community. We are also concerned by the abuse of Holocaust-related language and images, and the appearance of unequivocally antisemitic slogans such as “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas” at recent demonstrations.
We wish to remind the Scottish Government, other faith communities, Trades Unions, and other public bodies that the Macpherson principle, that "A racist incident is any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person" applies just as much to Jews as to others, and call on them publicly to condemn all forms of antisemitism in whatever guise it may appear.