Demands to ban pro-Israel groups from anti-hate rally

SUPPORTING ISRAEL: Glasgow Friends of Israel founders Sammy and Vicci Stein


GLASGOW Friends of Israel and Confederation of Friends of Israel Scotland members are again facing opposition to them taking part in the Stand Up To Racism march and rally.

The event is due to take place on Saturday, March 16, but there have been calls for the two groups to be banned — including from a Scottish Jewish group.

Scottish Jews Against Zionism has called peaceful “civil disobedience” to prevent the pro-Israel organisations from marching.

In 2018, GFoI and CoFIS members marching against antisemitism were intimidated and harassed in an attempt to prevent them from taking part.

Balaclava-clad members of extreme left wing groups, which claimed to be “Scotland’s anti-fascism, racism and bigotry movement” deployed aggressive, hate-filled behaviour in an attempt to stop the participation of GFoI and CoFIS.

The pro-Israel groups were confronted by chants such as ‘Stand up to racism, stand up to Zionism’ and ‘there’s no place on the streets of Glasgow for Zionists’.

Before the event, lawyer and Glasgow University Rector Aamer Anwar called upon participants to bring Palestinian flags and spoke of Israel’s apartheid laws and genocide of the Palestinian people.

The Muslim Council of Scotland withdrew from the march saying it was disappointed to see that SUTR would not “stand up to apologists for apartheid and racism, in the shape of GFoI and CoFIS”.

GFI chairman Sammy Stein told the Jewish Telegraph: “We will again participate, in a stand against antisemitism and, indeed, all forms of racism.

“The march organisers have been under severe political pressure, applied by several Israel-hating groups, to exclude GFoI and CoFIS, but have stood firm against this pressure and have refused to exclude any groups for political reasons.

“Recently, a small group calling itself Scottish Jews Against Zionism, whose members label themselves as Jewish and represent no one in the Jewish community but themselves, have called for civil disobedience to prevent us from joining the march.

“In addition, SJAZ have invited the disgraced former Momentum vice-chairman Jackie Walker, suspended from the Labour Party for antisemitism, to visit Scotland and speak against our participation.”

He added: “This year, Police Scotland will be on the streets of Glasgow to closely monitor the march to ensure that all participants are safe and not subjected to the level of thuggish behaviour experienced in 2018.

“GFoI and CoFIS stand firm against any form of racism, especially antisemitism, and confirm their full support for the aims and objectives of SUTR. We will be proud to participate with all good people at the march.”

Walker is also planning to speak in Glasgow three days before the rally on ‘Palestine, Israel and the Fight against the Racists’, hosted by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and SPSC Glasgow.

She wrote on her Facebook page: “Zionism today represents the most visceral and atavistic racism.

“Yet the SWP (Socialist Workers Party), for whom nothing changes and which claims, at least on paper, to be anti-Zionist, are totally unable to make the connection between the racism of Zionism in Israel and the racism of Zionism in Britain.

“Anti-racism at home and abroad just never meet up. The racist of Empire doesn’t seem to have any connection with racism in Britain.

“It was said of the late President Ford of the United States that he couldn’t chew gum and walk at the same time.

“The SWP also find it difficult integrating more than one campaign into their overall analysis.”

Last year, a group of 35 people, of different faiths, took part under the CoFIS/GFoI banner.

The groups are hoping that there will be more support this year, especially in these times of heightened antisemitism.

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