The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC) released figures this week indicating a huge upswing in anti-Semitic sentiment in Scotland since the start of Operation Protective Edge.
According to the SCoJeC website, in the past week alone, the council has received as many reports of anti-Semitic incidents as in 2013. Incidents include synagogue graffiti, threatening emails and phone calls, and two cases of incitement to break the law.
Community members have relayed to SCoJeC a reluctance to wear Jewish symbols and speak Hebrew on the street. Scottish Jews are limiting contact with non-Jews to “to avoid aggressive attempts to draw them into arguments about the Middle East,” and university students report feeling unsafe on campuses.
The council says community members “are worried and depressed, and unable to sleep. A number of people have said they no longer feel welcome in Scotland and are actively considering moving to Israel; some Israelis who have made their lives in Scotland have said they are afraid to say where they are from.”
The council website lists four examples of what it calls “the disproportionate obsession with Israel in Scottish public life,” which are increasing Scottish Jews’ unease, including the Glasgow municipality’s decision to fly the Palestinian flag on August 5 in solidarity with its twin city, Bethlehem.
In a statement from the Glasgow municipality Monday, Councillor Archie Graham explained the flag raising as “a gesture of humanitarian solidarity with the innocent civilians of Gaza who have suffered disproportionately from the effects of the economic blockade and especially from the recent incursion by the Israeli army.”
In the run-up to the Glasgow flag raising, pro-Palestinian activist Yvonne Ridley published a tweet calling for a “Zionist-free Scotland.” Members of the Jewish community have reported Ridley to the police for this tweet, as well as for a blog she wrote discussing Israel’s genocidal intentions in Gaza.
Other examples include: Of the 260 members’ motions relating to foreign nations since the 2011 Scottish Parliamentary elections, 50 involved Israel. In second place is Malawi with 14 motions, and tied for third are Syria, South Africa, and Iraq with 12.
Additionally, since July 9, there have been eight Scottish government statements about Gaza. “By comparison, there have been just 4 Scottish Governments statement about Syria since January 2013,” states the council.
As a final example, the council writes that since July 16 there have been three Scottish Human Rights Commission statements about the conflict in Gaza, bringing its statements relating to Israel to six — out of only seven statements about countries outside of the UK since the establishment of the commission in 2008.